Friday, February 24, 2006

Stepford Springs, Colorado

Last week I had to spend several days in Colorado Springs for work.

Let me tell you about Colorado Springs. It's one of the creepiest places I've ever been and spending actual time there (as in, 3.5 days) makes me realize just how weird it is. Colorado Springs is 60 miles south of Denver, a bit closer to the front range (mountains). That means the altitude is a little bit higher. The most well-known mountain in the area is Pike's Peak. In the Springs, you can find the Air Force Academy (there's a great big sign that says "Give me men" at the Air Force Academy, though I've heard they took it down recently because of all the sex scandals), a military base (Fort Carson), about 68798769451687 churches, the headquarters for the "save the children" outfit, and (my personal favorite) the home base for Focus on the Family.

People in the Springs use the Focus on the Family compound to navigate around the northern part of the city. It's that big and visible. You could fit many thousands of people at once into its buildings. The rooftops are bright green. Oh, and there's this thing on the outside that kind of looks like a long, curvy slide; I speculated that perhaps it's used as an escape chute for people who just can't take the brainwashing anymore.

The Springs is full of Stepford people. When I've been there conducting trainings for my actual job, I've noticed that the people don't really talk, ask questions, or even look you in the eye. For this particular work-related thing I was part of a team conducting focus groups in a school district, and it was obvious that not everyone who is in education is liberal, progressive, or anti-NCLB. Even my religious, conservative coworker who I spent a considerable amount of time with gets creeped out by just how over-the-top reactionary some of the culture is in the Springs.

We stayed in the northern part of the city and I noticed that everything was stripmalls and chain restaurants. I got to eat at an Elephant Bar, which was actually pretty good (for a chain)(I had the fish tacos)(hee hee, fish tacos), but in all the northern part of the city where I spent that time I didn't see any independent stores or restaurants. Granted, I've never been downtown or spent much time in the southern part of the city, so maybe I'm being a little unfair. It just seemed like there wasn't anything there to make it unique or identifiable as a city (other than the Focus compound, of course. Only once city in the US gets to house that gem).

There are some good things about the Springs - it's close to the mountains, there's a really cool place called Garden of the Gods, it houses a small liberal arts college (that's actually liberal, from what I understand), and the school district where we were is 1/3 of the way through building the coolest preschool-12th grade campus I've ever seen or heard of. It made me really excited to get to tour it and see what kinds of things they're planning to do.

I'm sure the Springs has non-pod people - they're just camoflaged, because they don't want to be captured and brainwashed in James Dobson's House of Fun. That curvy slide looks like it only holds one person at a time.


-qir said...

I love what you wrote about the curvy slide and I am really enjoying your bloggitude.



MLE said...


It's only taken me over a year to actually start blogging. Heh.

EEK! said...

Fish tacos ARE funny! :)