Tips for Transplants: Rules for August

Enjoy the last true month for hammocks.
Enjoy the last true month for hammocks. Danielle Lirette

August in general is the doldrums of the summer: The warm-weather holidays are pretty much over until Labor Day ushers out the season of fun; most people have already used up their vacation time; and the kids are bored with the video games you bought just a couple of months ago. We’re all just waiting for September to roll languidly around and start autumn, because seriously: Fuck this heat already.

That’s not to say that August doesn’t have anything going for it. What should we keep in mind as we crank the A/C and wait for fall? Here are ten suggestions.

click to enlarge If you think about it — thermometers? Pretty cool. - JESSICA MULLEN AT FLICKR
If you think about it — thermometers? Pretty cool.
Jessica Mullen at Flickr
10. Heat Resignation Sets In
Is it still hot? Still massively uncomfortable to sleep at night with just the windows open? Are there days that legally obligate the folks in your office and on the local news to say things about eggs and sidewalks? Yes, yes and, sadly, yes. Can you believe that the average temperature in August is 104 degrees? It’s not, but it sure feels like it is. Luckily, we’ve all become accustomed to living in a thin-air oven by the eighth month.

click to enlarge The's so...beautiful... - DON GRAHAM AT FLICKR
The's so...beautiful...
Don Graham at Flickr
9. Get All That I-70 Driving Out of Your System
Are there any reasons to drive up into the mountains in August? Sure — you can visit a bunch of places off-season, finding some seriously low rates at hotels in towns that will be noticeably cooler than it is down at a mile high. Whatever you do, enjoy not seeing the sights along the highway as you zoom-zoom comfortably at or above the speed limit. Because you’ll have all the time in the world to see those sights come ski season.

click to enlarge If it's not Scottish, it's crap. - MASA SAKANO AT FLICKR
If it's not Scottish, it's crap.
Masa Sakano at Flickr
8. It’s Cool to Be Scottish
Speaking of getting out of town, the first weekend in August  sees Snowmass host the somewhat inexplicable and yet still pretty fun Colorado Scottish Festival. Where else can you enjoy a good caber toss, bagpipe bands, and general Irish/Scottish merriment (well, other than in the United Kingdom)? That’s right: For some reason, it’s Snowmass. Haggis for everyone!

click to enlarge School is the way we teach children how to value boredom. - YUTAKA SEKI AT FLICKR
School is the way we teach children how to value boredom.
Yutaka Seki at Flickr
7. Kids Are Back in School — Some Sooner Than You Think
Labor Day weekend used to mark the end of the long, lazy summer months before you had to head back to school in early September — at least back when video games were 8-bit, hashtags were pound signs, and we were listening to Madonna without a hint of nostalgia. These days, school is starting earlier and earlier; some schools in the area (charters, not DPS) start as early as August 7. That’s sort of obscene, especially when a lot of those schools don’t have central air conditioning. Why does this matter to the average childless Denverite? School zones. Those camera vans are going to be out there come the 21st, just waiting for you to inch over twenty miles per hour.

click to enlarge Just put the cake in my mouth. - TAMBAKO THE JAGUAR AT FLICKR
Just put the cake in my mouth.
Tambako the Jaguar at Flickr
6. It’s the Best Month for Birthdays
Yes, everyone thinks their own birthday month is the best (except people born in December, who have to share their day with roughly a bazillion culturally pervasive occasions), but those lucky enough to be born in August are the only ones who are correct. There's just no competition in August; no other reasons for gift-giving, no real holidays to speak of, no way the spotlight can be stolen. On top of that, most people are desperate for a reason to celebrate; the summer is waning, the sun is going down earlier in the evenings, and that sense of "I didn't do enough awesome shit this summer" dread is setting in.

Keep reading for more tips for August.

click to enlarge Damn PSLs. - OINONIO AT FLICKR
Damn PSLs.
oinonio at Flickr
5. Traffic Gets Worse
We’ve all had something of a traffic break over the summer months — and August brings that to a screeching halt. Students will be returning to the Auraria campus for either the University of Colorado Denver, Metro State or CCD; students will be returning to DU and Regis, as well, not to mention the community colleges around town. That means a lot more traffic near any academic area, and more crowds on the light rail, too. Rush hour will start getting rushier, and forget about getting a Starbucks near campus pretty much anytime.

click to enlarge This is not the Velorama you're looking for. - BRUCE TURNER AT FLICKR
This is not the Velorama you're looking for.
Bruce Turner at Flickr
4. Check Out New Festivals…Like Velorama Colorado
The inaugural event combines bike racing with beer gardens live music and even the Denver Flea to produce something that will, at the very least, be a memorable and charmingly chaotic day in RiNo. You can’t beat the musical lineup: Wilco, Deathcab for Cutie, Old 97’s, the Jayhawks and more. You’ve probably never wanted to stay at a bike race for three full days, but we think Velorama will change all that.

click to enlarge The cheerleaders are ready, anyway. - DANIEL SPIESS AT FLICKR
The cheerleaders are ready, anyway.
Daniel Spiess at Flickr
3. Broncos Pre-Season, Baby!
The regular season doesn’t start until September, but if you can’t wait for the orange and blue to take the field again, there’s always pre-season. The Denver Broncos hit the road to take on the Bears on August 10 and the 49ers on the 19th. The team finishes out both the month and the pre-season hosting Green Bay on the 26th and the Cardinals on the 31st. The pre-season is sometimes little more than an exploration of a team’s bench depth, but the Broncos are still deciding on a starting QB — Simian or Lynch? — and that question alone is worth sweating it out at Mile High Stadium.

click to enlarge If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.
Danielle Lirette
2. You Gotta Try Tacolandia
If you really like tacos, then you’ve got to come to Tacolandia, which sounds like some sort of wonderland in which everything is made from tortillas and spiced meats, and the tequila runs like rivers through a magical churro landscape. And it sort of is, except for the Willy-Wonkaness of it all. Not everything is going to be made out of food. No, that’s not salsa — don’t lick that. Just get a taco, man.

Enjoy the last true month for hammocks. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Enjoy the last true month for hammocks.
Danielle Lirette
1. Remember That August Is February in the Southern Hemisphere
No, not literally. Just in terms of weather. Still…February? Sucks to be you, South America. But Happy Valentine’s Day!
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen