I grew up with parents separated since I was about four years old. After a couple of years of separation though, I began to live with my father in Colorado during the summertime, while my mother would school us in various places on the east coast. The earlier summer years were the best, as my dad really tried to make the best of things and be a good parent despite the troubles we had. But in those earlier years, the sheer aesthetic of his lifestyle rubbed off on me immensely. His life was definitely one of pleasures and a focus on lasting fun. In all of his time working with kids at the youth center on Fort Carson, he became a kind of faux rock star with his motorbike and fashion sense. People loved him because he backed it up by being a wonderful piano and guitar teacher, something he still does out of passion to this day.
But in those old summer memories, there is an aesthetic so strong and salient I’ll never forget it as long as I live. One summer we had at his old apartment, I believe it was 2007, it was particularly rainy for some reason all summer long. When you live in a desert, the smell of rain is so potent that it becomes mildly intoxicating. I remember this frequently, in car rides we had while the local rock station played contemporary hard rock hits of the time. Old Linkin Park, Trapt, and 90s grunge throwbacks for some alt rock flavour every so often. I felt like a raven in the sky there, and like a beetle in mud when I’d have to go back home for school in August. This was the Colorado Desert.
As for the title of the article, well, it’s a running inside joke between my husband and I. I’ve been overseas with him for long periods of time, and there is a very common youth apparel t-shirt sold with the phrase “COLORADO DESERT” on it like it’s a place to visit. People in Asia don’t know America culturally to know how silly that looks, and we laugh about it sometimes since I kind of grew up in that place being valorised like it’s New York or Orlando. We even saw some tourists in New York another time with the shirt. The place happens to be special to me in a great way, but it’s not something Asian tourists would know of through a brochure. That’s alright.
Until next time,