Alison Berkely Margo: The Princess’s Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Do you ever feel like your life is about to change?
I can feel it. It’s almost like I’m sitting at the gate at the airport waiting for the doors to open so I can walk through the jetway, board the plane and depart to an entirely new destination that I don’t know much about.
When I was in high school, I was accepted to be an exchange student in Spain. I’m pretty sure the only reason I was selected is because the stupid boarding school I went to was so desperate to get rid of me. Somehow, I skated through high school without ever getting busted for drinking or smoking weed, even though most days I showed up to class still dressed in my pajamas. Loads of other kids got busted and then suspended or expelled, but not me. I got to go to Spain for the fall semester of my senior year.
It didn’t occur to me to research Spain beforehand. This was before the days of the Internet (so weird to think of that), so it would have meant buying a Fodor’s guide or going to the library, or even seeing a travel agent and at least one photo of Madrid.
So the day my mom took me to JFK (this was back when you didn’t have to be a passenger to go through security), I literally had no idea where I was going or what to expect when I arrived. The idea that I would get into this plane and land on another continent, in a foreign country, on another day, was not only baffling – it was terrifying. I wanted to cling to my mother as she sat there in one of those plastic seats and cry and beg her to let me stay, but I just sat and stared at the magazine I was pretending to read as my vision blurred with tears. When she hugged me goodbye, my throat closed up, my chest ached, and it seemed as though I was about to step off the edge of the earth and into oblivion.
In the end I loved Spain so much that I cried for the entire seven-hour flight home and disregarded my mother as uncultured and ignorant when, upon my return, she insisted on doing her Jane Fonda workout in front of the TV. I was like, “My Spanish mother took me to museums – and she let me smoke.”
I sort of feel like that now. Ryan and I are about to embark on a new chapter in our lives, but we’re not exactly sure where it’s going to take us.
Like, we may or may not have kids. Now that we know Ryan is the Sperminator, it looks like we have at least a 1 in 148 million sperm-per-milliliter chance (just in case you missed last week’s column) even though my eggs might be a little stale. Part of me is thinking, “Be careful what you wish for!” I mean, if this whole thing doesn’t pan out, at least I can look forward to sleeping in and going on fancy vacations and having my husband to myself for the rest of my life.
It’s like what Ann Patchett, the novelist who came to speak at the Aspen Writers’ Foundation Winter Words festival, said about not having children: “I got to a point when I realized not making a decision was a decision.”
But then again, Ryan and I both come from very close families, and I think Ryan would make a really good mom. Of course I’m willing to help out with the stuff he can’t do – don’t be silly.
Also, Ryan’s working in Carbondale now at Advantage Branding and is all hot to move downvalley. (Please call us at 970-963-2295 for all your branding needs. We do screen printing, embroidery, signs, banners and vehicle graphics. We are family owned and operated, free range and locally grown!)
Anyway, somehow “Basalt Princess” doesn’t have a very nice ring to it.
It’s true we have outgrown the one-bedroom apartment we never really fit into in the first place. We thought we could manage it when we first moved in because half of our stuff was in Centennial storage. Once we had to clean that out, we were screwed. It’s gotten to the point where we’ve started to just leave our stuff outside, piled up between the full storage shed and the backdoor. We’re so frustrated we don’t even care if it snows on the golf clubs or if my high school yearbooks get wet.
“I gotta be honest,” Ryan said last night when he had to push me out of the way to walk by. “This place is starting to get to me.”
We spent the good part of Sunday looking at properties online, and I pictured all kinds of scenarios: We could buy that 1900s ice barn in Carbondale, and Ryan could grow a long beard and get into some weird hobby. We could move to Redstone, drop out of society and buy a loom and weave wall art with feathers. I could buy a stroller that cost more than Ryan’s old car and push it to and from the pool at River Valley Ranch dressed in matching Juicy Couture sweat suits.
Then we realized you need, like, money to buy a house. Seeing as though it’s the end of the month, I’m guessing we might have around 100 bucks in our joint checking account. Plus, I love Aspen. I love Aspen so much! But Aspen is like that hot guy in high school – he might let you be seduced by his charm, but he’s never going to be yours.
I’m not sure where this leaves us or where this leads us. I just know I have no idea where we’re going.