Su Lum: Slumming | AspenTimes.com

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

Sheepie and Goatie were going to the pasture. Sheepie said, “Goatie, can’t you go a little faster?” Goatie said, “Sheepie, my toes are sore.” “Well, excuse me, Mr. Goatie, I did not know.”

This cautionary story was prominent in my family’s lore – “Excuse me, Mr. Goatie,” was code for, “If I had known all the circumstances, I wouldn’t have yelled at you.”

My two siblings and I never said “Excuse me, Mr. Goatie” to one another. What we did was threaten to tell on one another, but another of my mother’s sayings was, “Tattletale tit, your tongue shall be slit, and every little dog in town shall have a little bit.”

If you think this is leading to some profound observations on the human condition, sorry to disabuse you of that notion. The point – such as it is – is that I remember Mr. Goatie and the tattletale verse with perfect clarity, but where did I leave my Visa card last week?

I was lucky to find my sunglasses, which I had worn only twice, in the City Market lost-and-found, but I forgot to put my back appointment with Patty Bennett on my calendar and completely blew her off.

When in doubt, blame the Republicans for stressing the public and tossing the economy down the toilet. How bad can it get? Did we think we’d seen the worst despite the warnings that another wave of economic disaster was hovering in the background? Is it time to recycle our flag pins?

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The media speaks of an atmosphere of fear in this country, but there are a whole lot of people in town who have absolutely no fear at all – I speak, of course, of the cyclists: There are the Lycra-encased speed bikers who fly around corners and shoot through stop signs and red lights, but the worst danger is the family group taking an outing in the middle of the road.

Sometimes helmeted, sometimes not, they appear in groups of five or six, trailing baby carriers or a tandem back seat, the middle kids wobbling with training wheels, and a toddler bringing up the rear on a tricycle, oblivious to the traffic whizzing around, and at, them. The bike rental shops would be a good place to require behavior pledges.

The Colorado state birds, construction cranes, are in full flight around town. The hospital is a war zone, as is the downtown. Alas, poor Cooper Street (sic) Pier, and I’ll bet you’ve barely noticed that tiny little rooftop penthouse on the Crandall Building. Imagine what we could have done during a good construction year.

I was lucky to know somebody who knew somebody and watched the rehearsal of “Romeo and Juliet” in the basement of the Colorado Mountain College building. Only Romeo was in costume (zut alors, transparent pantyhose), and it was great seeing these dancers as their real selves, inches away. You could tell how hard it was by their breathing, but you’d never know from a distance.

“Breath” is one of those spellcheck disaster words, since both “breathe” and “breath” are real words but a lot of writers don’t seem to know the difference and you get sentences such as “I could breath.” Fie.

“Yes siree, Bobtail Bee,” as my grandmothers used to say on the rare occasions that they agreed with us.

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