On the Hill: Captive audience | AspenTimes.com

On the Hill: Captive audience

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” This is the reason I dread gondola rides.

Don’t get me wrong. I like small talk (I had a lot of practice during my four-year, long-distance relationship). And sure, I sometimes strike up a conversation with someone interesting. Just last week, I met a guy who lives two towns over from my grandfather outside Philadelphia. Small world.

But every so often I’m stuck on a 15-minute ride to the top with some hotshot (at least he thinks he’s a hotshot), who feels the need to affirm and/or flaunt his machismo.

It happened Tuesday morning. We were hardly to the top of Little Nell before this camo-clad Rhodes Scholar had taken off his gloves, helmet, goggles and jacket, then proceeded to bang each piece of equipment against a railing, sending small chunks of snow in every direction. Next, he went to work on his ski boots like a mechanic fixing the transmission on a 1973 Chevy Nova. He unhooked straps, readjusted buckles and pulled out liners.

I swear, he was moving more than a 12-year-old after one Fun Dip and two Red Bulls.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the guy then decided to regale everyone in the bucket with details of his morning’s exploits ” even though no one asked. Talk about a captive audience.

In case you were curious (I sure wasn’t), he spent the first part of the morning on Lift 1A, then made his way to six to test his mettle in the Dumps. He was planning on hitting Walsh’s for a few runs before stopping for a quick lunch.

I would rather have been at a Lions game, or watching “Deal or No Deal” re-runs. I would rather have been skiing Panda Peak ” in Wranglers.

I considered banging my head incessantly against the glass. I settled instead on turning about 15 degrees clockwise so I was facing directly out the window. I find its best during such instances to avoid eye contact at all costs.

For a brief moment, I contemplated one-upping the perpetual one-upper. I thought about divulging the details of my morning: Waking up to the harmonious sound of a metal shovel scraping against concrete. Downing four glasses of Crystal Light Cherry Pomegranate On The Go Immunity while munching a piece of pizza left on my coffee table overnight (you can never waste good pizza). Heading outside just in time to see my landlord accost some unsuspecting, illegally parked gray-haired man. Falling in the middle of Cooper Street, then scrambling to gather my equipment as a Waste Management truck waits patiently.

Top that, buddy.

I decided to stay quiet, though. I didn’t want to steal his thunder.

I’ll save my story for another trip.


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