Gunnison CO. I've never been in town when the college students were back in session, so the town seems crowded. Colorado, with its exercise and non-obesity culture, makes for some enjoyable girl-watching. Now, I think we can all agree that the decline of girl-watching is one of the things that shows America's inexorable moral and cultural decline.
But I had more fun watching some of the middle-aged women in town. I'm not being facetious. Colorado has developed a "Copenhagen chic" bicycle culture that has spread even to backwoodsy Gunnison. What an improvement it is to abandon the uni-sex athletic jock look, with a boy's bike, spandex, and a plastic/styrofoam brain bucket; and then to see real women -- in flouncy summer dresses no less! -- jump on ("into", actually) an old-fashioned girl's bike with chrome fenders and wicker baskets and streamers on the handlebars; and off she pedals to a store to do some errand. Girls will be girls after all, so there seems to be some kind of style competition with these colorful and funky bicycles. Even the rims are brightly colored.
How impressive it is to see a middle-aged woman -- heavy hooved by a too frazzled life -- magically transformed into a completely different creature, right in front of your eyes! It's not an exact comparison, but it invokes an image from Henry Fielding's Tom Jones:
"The lowing heifer and the bleating ewe, in herds and flocks, may
ramble safe and unregarded through the pastures. These are, indeed,
hereafter doomed to be the prey of man; yet many years are they
suffered to enjoy their liberty undisturbed. But if a plump doe be
discovered to have escaped from the forest, and to repose herself in
some field or grove, the whole parish is presently alarmed, every man
is ready to set his dogs after her; and, if she is preserved from the
rest by the good squire, it is only that he may secure her for his own
I have often considered a very fine young woman of fortune and
fashion, when first found strayed from the pale of her nursery, to be
in pretty much the same situation with this doe. The town is
immediately in an uproar; she is hunted from park to play, from court
to assembly, from assembly to her own chamber, and rarely escapes a
single season from the jaws of some devourer or other..."