My ongoing and futile effort to stop all change |

My ongoing and futile effort to stop all change

Michael Cleverly

The older I get, the more I resist change. This I think is standard procedure; older people tend to resist change, while younger folks embrace it. Sometimes it’s change itself I resist; sometimes, more fairly, it’s specific change I resist.

When paid parking first infected downtown Aspen, I hated it. Now that Mayor Mick is suggesting it might be a good idea to spread the infection to every square inch of road within the city limits, including your driveway, I’m feeling that resistance welling up again.

I realize that Mick can’t help it; he has a pathological hatred for the internal combustion engine. In general I tend to agree with him ” ask me about snowmobiles and dirt bikes ” but I would like to be able to do an hour’s worth of errands in town without getting on and off buses, or having to wander like the Flying Dutchman finding coins to feed a meter. I live about six miles from town; you’d think I could do some errands. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way.

I find this to be a case of “just when you figure Aspen couldn’t possibly suck any worse, they come up with something else.” It’s one of those specific changes that I don’t care for, like when I despise a new building that’s going up between me and a view I’m fond of.

When I say I hate all new construction, or that no change in Aspen over the last few decades has made it a better place for me to be, that’s a resistance to change in general and probably not fair. See the difference?

The latest change that I’m unfairly resisting is the move-up of daylight saving time. Last year we sprang forward three weeks earlier than we have in previous years, and it’s messing with my mind. We used to spring forward in the spring, which had a nice ring to it. But in 2007 we sprang forward while the weather person was still telling us that March is our snowiest month, a statement that made me want to spring into the television set and strangle said weather person. It’s bad enough that it’s true, but do they have to keep reminding us? I realize that a skier in ski country complaining about snow amounts to a hate crime, but I can’t deny it ” I’m sick of it. This was the winter hell really did freeze over, along with my toes, pipes and everything else.

I guess the smart guys in Washington figured that moving up daylight saving time would save energy. I’m not about to dispute that, I don’t know enough to dispute that. I also agree that squandering energy is a very bad idea; on the scale of bad ideas it’s up there with, say, a third term for Bush. To me, however, daylight saving time has always meant that spring had finally arrived and summer was on the way. No more ” the only thing it means now is it’ll be light enough for another hour so you can see the snow blowing sideways and piling up in the driveway. I have to resist this. I can’t help it, I’ve seen enough.

I dutifully changed my clocks when I was supposed to, but now I’m thinking about changing them back. As an artist and writer I don’t have the kind of job that has me punching a time clock. I have one deadline a month here at The Aspen Times; I might be able to stay on top of that, even though I have been known to blow it. When I do a portrait commission, my deadlines usually involve months of the year ” “I can get this to you by June or July,” not hours of the day. And my editor at HarperCollins is used to the most extreme sort of deadline violation; I would probably have to be literally dead for a few months before he’d begin to notice.

If I do change my clocks back, then this “hour’s difference” thing probably would affect my social life if I had one, but I don’t. When I do show up for something I’m fairly punctual, but the truth is that I mostly decline the rare invitation I get. No one will notice if I’m an hour late for something I’m not going to attend anyway. It’s unusual for me to go to a movie or concert, things you’re supposed to be on time for, but when I do go it’s with a responsible adult who understands my idiosyncrasies and makes adjustments with them in mind, pretty much taking all the grown-up stuff out of my hands. This is always OK with me; it’s safer that way.

So I guess I will set my clocks back to where I think they belong. Maybe I’ll see you when spring comes around for real, but it will be an hour later than when I think I’m seeing you