Beth Brandon

I guess you can’t have totally euphoric summer moments without a little bit of aggravation too. That’s just how life works. What goes up, must come down. 

And after feeling all the joys of summer, I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t time for some of these kooky tourists to start visiting other parts of the world again. Isn’t there good skiing to seek out in Portillo, Chile?

As quickly as the summer season goes it’s a wonder we can actually talk about burnout. But as much as we expect to see flashes of yellow on trees by the end of August in Aspen you can also set a clock by the angry August crabbies, too. August is when citizens of Aspen tend to get a little edgy. It’s a little like March. The downward slope of the summer season brings an irritability that only townsfolk in Aspen understand.

It’s hard to imagine why people here would have anything to complain about. It’s stunning everywhere you look, and even if you aren’t living the official high life it shows up in the form of free tickets or swag. We’re fortunate indeed, but despite that very real fact, we are human beings with busy brains that often default to a little whining and complaining from time to time. So as much as I enjoyed this summer, I’m ready to let off some steam and rant.  

In addition to our little microcosm being hot and bothered, we’re living in a time where we might actually read the paper tomorrow and discover that the president wants us to hunt bald eagles for Thanksgiving this year. It’s that bad and hard to ignore. Even if we had time to escape to the hills, the state of our union is far from sunshine and unicorns. I’ll take “Absorbed with summer season burnout in Aspen” for $600, Alex.

The land of milk and honey has high expectations. My husband took a request for a dirty martini the other day, that wasn’t so much a dirty martini, “but if you could make the ice dirty then shake that ice with my martini that would be great and if it’s not cold enough I’ll send it back.” Yeah, that’s happening folks. And here I thought getting yelled at by a tourist who couldn’t return his cannabis products was bad. Who created these monsters? I suppose we’re all culpable on that one.

Aspen’s small-town life is ready to feel small again. Riding my bike through town, while quicker, also has been stressing me out. Can we all get on the same page with crosswalks? They are cross “walks,” not cross “rides.” If you want to stop traffic so you can cross the street riding your bike, then be my guest. Put your phone up to your ear while you’re at it and have some coffee too.

And if you want to walk in crosswalks, remember that the bike that was coming down the street before you stepped out in front of it also is a moving vehicle and shouldn’t need to slam on its brakes because you’re like, in Aspen. 

I manage a cannabis dispensary, so if I’m losing my cool on a bicycle, then that should give you an indication of the temperature reading in Aspen among locals at the moment.

Aspen also could use a few more employees, as well as a place for said hardworking employees to live. Duh. The billionaire’s bubble is adding more and more slick and flashy folk every day, but darn it all if we don’t still need people to live and work here. What good is the small-town life if you can’t enjoy the small-town connection?

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve heard numerous work horror stories through the gossip mill that involve “no calls, no shows” — a particularly Aspen kind of way to miss work; servers are walking out mid-shift and there’s general angst from those left working because they need a friggin day off in the woods to collect themselves. It’s a vicious cycle.

This town will pay you in the strangest ways, and at the end of the day, money spends the same so you do what you must. Sometimes you want slug down that martini that was slightly fondled by dirty olive juice ice while you pour olive juice over the head of the requester, while other days, you might have actually suggested how good dirty ice really is! “It’s just a touch salty.” Just check the calendar to see what month it is first. What a sick and twisted life we live!

How’s that for a slice of the good life in Aspen? I’m sure we’ll all feel better next week when the kids go back to school. It is the short exhale before Labor Day where we realize everything’s going to be fine and we don’t have to go inside just because summer’s over. But for now, GRRR!

Beth is feeling frisky. She can be reached at bethabrandon@hotmail.com