420 in Colorado is… not my favorite

4/20 used to be a day that Coloradans reflected on the tragedy at Columbine High, while a couple of outcasts in the corner whispered about a smokeout at the university in Boulder.

I miss those quiet days.

This is my first time living and working in Denver for 420, and it… wasn’t my favorite.

Nobody needs to rally for legalization here, so 420 has just turned into an awful tourist holiday. Literally everyone I ID’d for drinks at work today were from out of town. Their declarations were slow, with eyes ablaze: “We’re going to move here!”


Waiting on stoned people, also not a favorite thing. In fact, I’d rather scrape the resin out of their pipes with my teeth.

Don’t get me wrong, some of them were pleasant as all hell. They were here for a good time, and were respectful of our city. But a majority of them… Let’s see.

  • Think $4.20 tips are wildly clever, regardless of the amount on their bills.
  • Cannot decide what they want to eat. They ask a million questions, and I’m afraid my answers short circuit them, because they just stare at me like hosts in the glass room on Westworld.
  • Opting to give up on making decisions, they simply order everything that sounds good.
  • When the food arrives at the table, nobody remembers what they had. Further short circuits.
  • Then the bill comes. “Oh, I don’t have enough money.” Or, “I didn’t have that!”

In fact, I had a table today that racked up a $100 tab. They were actually one of my more pleasant tables. We laughed, and joked. I presented their check, ran some food, and the next thing I know they’re gone. They dropped $40 for their bill, leaving the restaurant to foot the other $60.

Of course, this didn’t come out of my pocket, except for the part where it did. While the restaurant covered the rest of the bill, I still had to tip out on the full amount. I lost $4 and had to claim that I’d made money from them for taxes. $4 isn’t a lot of money, but imagine doing a good job for someone in your field of work only to be surprised to pay them for the work you did. That’s what happens when you don’t tip a server.

Even the money coming out of the restaurant makes me mad, because we’re not some huge corporate chain. We’re a local business with a wonderful owner who does a lot for our community. That’s $60 out of his pocket.

Whatever, it happens. So I make a significantly less than usual amount for my day of work, and go home.

The traffic. The traffic! I’ve never seen Denver so congested. What’s normally a ten minute drive took almost a full hour. Backed up cars branch from every street. There’s no parking. People are casually jaunting through traffic, literally smoking weed in the streets. They’re blasting music out of portable speakers in their pockets. Our typically clean air is rank with the skunk smell of pot. I finally arrive home to find the streets and greens littered with trash. Horns are honking, and people are shouting.

Here’s the thing: nobody in Colorado cares about 420 any more. It’s legalized. Done. Not even people I know who smoke care about 420. We just want to avoid the commotion. Some families want to quietly remember what they lost on this day 18 years ago.

The swarms of people backing up traffic, littering in the streets, being terrible patrons, and smoking wherever they please, are not our people.

This must be how places like New York feel on New Year’s Day, or New Orleans on Mardi Gras. For one day, on April 20th, Denver is not our city any more. I wish the rest of the country would legalize pot, so we can have our city back.

Tourists. Please be respectful of the cities and people you visit.

2 Responses

  1. Xtreme28 says:

    Wow. I didn’t realize it was that bad…so sad..

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