Editor column: Out of place in Aspen
We all have those situations where it’s pretty, and sometimes painfully, clear that we do not fit in.
It’s a diverse world, even in the context of Colorado’s Western Slope. I was reminded of this Sunday after a 90-minute drive to Aspen.
Sam’s best friend and her husband made it into town Friday night for a week-long visit (yes, more visitors) and it was somehow implied that everyone should at least see Aspen. This was despite the fact that I had only visited once and that was on a pass-through trip to access Independence Pass.
Our conversations last winter about visiting Aspen always ended with me asking: “Why would we go to a place where we can’t afford to do anything?”
Dollars are dollars and that point always seemed to squash any talks of visiting the snow-covered hills populated by the rich and famous.
But, as Sam made the case, we had to see the beautiful site of the trees turning colors around the mountain-town feel of downtown. And of course, we could window shop.
The visit started with lunch in Paepcke Park. We packed sandwiches and some sides, which we devoured at one of the picnic tables. It was a lovely start, although I can think of dozens of places to have a picnic that don’t require a 90-minute drive.
After lunch, we walked toward downtown, at least what I’m assuming was downtown, and looked around. There was a rugby game being played on what looked like a turf field. Spectators were standing around drinking craft beers and other beverages.
We continued walking and stopped in some store (I can’t remember the name) that sold hats, boots, belt buckles and miscellaneous stuff. Sam and our visitors picked up a boot here, a boot there and even tried on some hats. I was too terrified to touch anything. After pulling a hand bag off the display tower, Sam and her friend looked at the more than $300 price on the tag and said “not bad.”
If I had the money, I probably would have used the purse as a vomit bag.
Among the most peculiar items in the display case (and I only wish I was kidding) was a wad of dollar bills.
We stepped out and wandered a little more before arriving at the Hotel Jerome, where a one-night stay will run you more than $300, minimum, according to TripAdvisor. I remember feeling nervous when a member of our four-person party sat on a couch in the lobby. It felt like I was in a museum.
We didn’t actually do anything in the hotel other than walk around for a couple of minutes. We left and headed back to a pedestrian street (I can’t remember the name) that had a beer garden in the middle of it.
We sat, ordered one round of drinks and just looked around. There was slick looking older man wearing what looked like a woman’s vest and an attractive woman on each arm. Each woman carried shopping bags that appeared to be slightly nicer than the plastic Wal-Mart bags I’m accustomed to.
Another man went to get a slice of pizza and put his two Yorkies on a chair at one of the dining tables outside. I imagined those dogs eating a breakfast exceeding my own in terms of cost, quality and probably taste.
After the one round, we asked for our check. A flight, which is three 6-ounce glasses of draft beer, was around $15, which was shockingly less than what I was expecting. We didn’t stick around much longer, and I remember feeling a sense of relief as we piled in my car to make the drive back to Rifle — home sweet home.
Ryan Hoffman is the editor of The Citizen Telegram. You can reach him at 970-685-2103 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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