On the hill: Duck and cover
ASPEN – Here’s the scene in The Aspen Times newsroom at about 3 p.m. Tuesday:
It’s the sound of avalanche bombs going off in the distance, shaking the building a bit.
Whimper! Scramble! Shake! Whimper! Scramble! Shake!
It’s the sound of my dog, Jake, reacting to the sound of those avalanche bombs going off in the distance.
Skittish on the Fourth of July and during thunderstorms, Jake is clearly not a fan of loud noises. But the bombs set off Tuesday afternoon on Trainor’s almost gave him a nervous breakdown. Of course I don’t know this for a fact (because he can’t talk), but his behavior was clearly that of one on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
First he visibly shook at my feet; then he hid under my desk. When another round of bombs went off, he managed to curl up on the bottom shelf of a small bookcase next to my desk (and Jake is not a small dog), where he continued to shake.
When a third round of blasts shook the building, it was clear to everyone that Jake was coming unglued. His eyes were a bit buggy, and after he circled the floor for a minute, he tried to squeeze his 45-pound frame into a small crack between the bookshelf and a co-worker’s desk.
Needless to say, I took him home – or, more accurately, he dragged me there, looking behind him the whole way for who was trying to bomb him.
It’s funny – for Aspen locals, the sound of bombs going off in the distance is generally a good thing – we know that means there’s lots of new snow and that if the bombs do their job, we will be skiing that snow soon and safely.
For Jake – and I’m guessing hundreds of other dogs and maybe even a few tourists – the sound of bombs going off in the distance is a whole other matter. Loud. Unsettling. Gut-wrenching.
Glad I’m a local. And, for the record, Jake is fine … though I might have to call in a prescription of doggie Valium to get him to leave the house again.
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The city of Aspen’s office building is exempt from paying encroachment fees, yet private developers have to now pay $9 a square foot, per month, starting in 2020.