Tips for Transplants: Rules for July

Ah, the traditional medieval napkins.
Ah, the traditional medieval napkins. Ben Gillin at Flickr

It’s July in Denver, which means that once Independence Day is done, we will enter the lazy days of summer, when everyone is either vacationing, anticipating getting out of town, or regretting that they took time off back in June when it wasn’t so damn hot. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do here — or at least, no rules to follow.

Because there are. Of course there are. So turn up that window air conditioner, situate your chair right in front of it, grab a cold one from the fridge, put it against your neck, and ahh…wait, what were we talking about again? Oh, right: July.

click to enlarge When you need a nap, you need a nap. - KAREN AT FLICKR
When you need a nap, you need a nap.
Karen at Flickr
1. Rest-Up From Comic-Con and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival
By the time you read this list, you probably already enjoyed whichever arts community best floats your own personal boat. Comics, anime, movies and awesomeness? You were probably downtown at Denver Comic Con when July began. Oils and watercolors and fine sculpture? You were probably at the Arts Festival, hanging out in (and likely a resident of) Cherry Creek. Either way, here’s hoping you enjoyed two of Denver’s most impressive celebrations of art — now take a nap. And maybe stop spending money for a while.

click to enlarge Ah, the traditional medieval napkins. - BEN GILLIN AT FLICKR
Ah, the traditional medieval napkins.
Ben Gillin at Flickr
2. Eat Your Obligatory Turkey Leg at the Colorado Renaissance Festival
If you go to the Renaissance Festival, you have to eat a turkey leg. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like them, it doesn’t matter if you’d prefer something else. There is nothing else. There are turkey legs and more turkey legs. And beer to wash it down, thank God. They hand them out at the gate when you pay your admission. “Huzzah! Here be your ticket, knave, and your turkey leg! Huzzah!” You also have to say “Huzzah!” a lot, which is actually Welsh for “More turkey legs!”

click to enlarge "Yeah, hey, you think you might get me a bucket of lemonade?" - DJRPHOTO36 AT FLICKR
"Yeah, hey, you think you might get me a bucket of lemonade?"
DJRPhoto36 at Flickr
3. Learn Which Zoo Animals Sweat
You take your kids to the Denver Zoo so they learn things, right? Well, the thing they’ll learn in July is what zoo animals smell like in July. This is not inconsequential information, mind you, and I don’t mean to make light of it. If they later go on safari, they might detect the musk of a great cat on the prowl, or even one of the fabled polar bears of the Serengeti. They’ll also learn how different animals use body language and rudimentary sounds to try to suavely communicate: “Hey girl, you gonna finish that slushie?”

4. Be Aware That the Heat Is On
So yes. Hot. Take it seriously. Denver may not get as hot as Arizona or as humid as Illinois, but it’s still dangerous out there for kids (who need even more sunscreen because of the altitude, remember!) and pets (never leave them in the car — ever — and if you don’t let them inside, make sure they have a place to cool off) and even adults who should know better (it doesn’t make you “tough” that you sleep in a stifling bedroom or pride yourself on never using anything with an SPF). DIA may not be shutting down because of the heat, but there’s still a lot of temp-related stuff to consider.

5. Be Aware of “The Heat Is On”
“The Heat Is On” is the holiday campaign of the Colorado State Patrol when they step up efforts to prevent and detect any DUI that may be occurring on our roads. This means a greater presence on the streets and checkpoints stationed throughout the city at strategic points — which are either annoying (in a momentary panic “wait…did I have a drink today?” sort of way) or seriously concerning (if you’re dumb enough to drink and then get behind the wheel). Remember: The Sawaya Law Firm will reimburse you for any cab ride you take over the July 4 weekend (Saturday-Tuesday). No, really!

Keep reading for more tips for July.

click to enlarge Man, it's good to just get away, isn't it? - SUMMONEDBYFELLS AT FLICKR
Man, it's good to just get away, isn't it?
summonedbyfells at Flickr
6. Go Camping…at Arguably the Worst Time to Do It
It makes some sense, if you only think about it halfway — let’s go camping! You know, up in the mountains where it’s significantly cooler! We’ll get away from it all, away from all the noise of the city, cook out in the great outdoors, enjoy getting back to nature…until you realize that the temps aren’t hugely different between Denver and, say, West Chicago Campground. So if it’s 92 degrees in Denver, it’ll be a chilly 85 or so up there. Also — and here’s the kicker — everyone else and their cousin with all the dogs had the exact same idea. Camping is really just the opportunity to smell like smoke, eat ashy marshmallows, and be annoyed by people other than your neighbors.

click to enlarge This is your brain in July. Any questions? - BENNETT AT FLICKR
This is your brain in July. Any questions?
Bennett at Flickr
7. Understand That People Get Louder
It’s a fact: temperatures go up, and people get a little nuttier. You’re more apt to hear neighbors arguing or passersby whooping it up or even people in the apartment across the way (or in the alley out back) getting it on. Yeah, it’s partially because our windows are more likely open, and we’re more likely outside, and yadda yadda yadda. But really, it’s because we all go sort of batshit crazy for a while between July 4 and the start of school.

click to enlarge This sort of horseplay is not welcome at Denver public pools. - KENNETH HAMBLIN III
This sort of horseplay is not welcome at Denver public pools.
Kenneth Hamblin III
8. Discover Denver Pools
Denver Parks and Rec has a number of lovely swimming pools, both indoor and outdoor, for your wading pleasure. If you haven’t been in a pool since you were a kid, do yourself a favor and dip your toes in. There’s a simple satisfaction that comes with immersing yourself in a cool pool on a hot day — it’s like that first spoonful of ice cream when it’s been too long. And there’s something communal about doing it with your fellow Denverites; this is a bond that goes back to our earliest days as human beings. There’s something spiritual about it. Or maybe the chlorine kills that too. But it’s a decent trade: I think we’d all prefer a sanitized relationship with our fellow man rather than some urine-soaked epiphany, right? Back to my main point: Swimming pools are good.

click to enlarge Step slowly away from the roman candle. - TEAGUE BOHLEN
Step slowly away from the roman candle.
Teague Bohlen
9. Fireworks: Sort of Like Not Wearing Your Seatbelt
Meaning that yes, they’re illegal, and no, no one really gives a shit until something goes terribly wrong (or you’re stupid enough to light one in front of a cop). These are the little ones — the bottle rockets, the roman candles, that sort of thing — not the big displays scheduled across the state. So yes, those are fireworks going off in your alley. They’ll keep going off most of the month, honestly — it only stops when those that have made a run for the border (for explosives, not Taco Bell, though the two often go hand-in-hand) have run out of their supply.

click to enlarge Find your own pool, bro. - JOE HOOVER AT FLICKR
Find your own pool, bro.
Joe Hoover at Flickr
10. Wish It Were Still June
Or better yet, March. Remember March? Sometimes cold, sometimes warm, but usually comfy-cold at night with your windows open…and you could still ski on the weekends and walk two blocks without having to mop your brow and buy an iced latte. Oh, March. You’re our favorite.

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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