Alison Berkley Margo: The Princess’ Palate
I’ve only lived in Basalt for 13 days, and already I feel like my perspective on Aspen has totally changed.For starters, when you are moving into your first house, you are a little distracted. You might not think about the last time you had your roots done or what the new hip shoe is for the summer season. You might forget to shave your armpits for a day or go to bed without washing your face because you’re too tired to think about it.So when I had to drive up to Aspen for the first time since we moved up the Fryingpan, I experienced a little bit of culture shock.I mean, hello, I’m supposed to be the Aspen Princess. If anyone is comfortable parading Aspen’s designer boutique-lined streets, it should be me. If anyone should be entitled to cruise around post-yoga with sweat in my hair and no bra, it should be me.So I had to drive up to Aspen on a whim because my new wireless router was not working with this dreadful satellite Internet we just got. Let me be the first to tell you that you might be only five miles from Basalt, but you are on another planet when you live up the Fryingpan. It has totally different scenery and a totally different vibe and is totally off the grid. There are red-rock spires everywhere and these winds that whisper ancient secrets of trees, and the bubbling of the river makes you aware of the blood that’s running through your veins at any given moment. And no, I’m not on drugs, but yes, the house we bought from these two old hippies does seem to have some kind of mystical energy. Every time I feel like maybe our house is a little too far away, I come around the corner to see Mount Sopris waiting for me like an old friend. He’s standing there going, “Welcome back to the Roaring Fork Valley, Princess!” and I totally love him and smile every time I see him.Anyhoo, there are a few adjustments you have to make when you live up a remote canyon-river valley, and one of them is that Comcast isn’t coming to dinner. You have to get this gigantic satellite dish that looks like a big weapon and have it attached to the outside of your house. Then your cellphone doesn’t work, so you need a land line and have to share the voicemail with your husband, which is so weird at first. Oh, and there is no homeowners association or anyone who organizes nice little neat mailboxes for you at the end of the driveway. We had to buy a mailbox and a post at Lowe’s, and it’s still sitting in our driveway on account of the fact that we have no way of actually putting the thing into the ground.So the wireless router doesn’t work with my crap-ass satellite Internet connection, which is like going back in time to 1999 as you wait 10 seconds for a page to download. That means I have to drive up to Aspen to go to the iPro store, where a guy named Stillman is like the mad scientist of the Apple world. He can do anything, fix anything, and he always knows exactly how to do it and can usually get it done in ten seconds or less. He totally rocks.I was pretty excited about being back in Aspen until I looked around and saw all the girls were wearing maxi dresses and pencil capris with wedge espadrilles and I was dressed in an old sun dress and flip flops. They all had cool sunglasses and no roots. I had hair that looked like hay and was twisted into a messy bun, the dark roots like a sign on my forehead that says, “Can’t afford it!” in big letters.”What’s happening to me?” I asked my friend Ambere. “Will you please do something if I start turning into a hippie? Will you please stop me, slap me, anything?” But she just laughed and didn’t say anything.When I got back to Basalt, I stopped at the library to borrow a few DVDs. All the women I saw were wearing sun dresses and flip-flops and looked like they just got out of the shower-no make up and hair that was just thrown into a plain old elastic band.I panicked.I drove up to Aspen the very next day. I had to go to Clark’s to get Himalayan goji berries because they don’t have them at the stupid City Market in El Jebel (I soooo can’t wait for Whole Foods to open, then I’ll be popular and cool again). I went straight to the Queen B salon and read magazines for the three hours it took to make me a natural blonde again. I had my eyebrows waxed and got sparkling pink polish on my toes. I did my favorite Suzy’s/Boogie’s/D&E circuit and spent what I make in four months writing this column to update my wardrobe. I swore I’d never wear flats, but the T-strap metallic sandals I got do feel a lot more modern. “You really need to retire those,” is what my mom said about my raggedy old platform flip-flops I’ve been wearing since Anne Gurchick and I went to Kauai in 2005. I’m pretty sure I still owe her for them because I’d forgotten my credit card.I finally started to feel like myself again as I walked around town shopping for so long that I forgot to eat, so I went to Victoria’s to get a coffee drink to curb my hunger pain. The only thing I was missing was a trip to the Botox doc, but that can wait – his office is in Basalt.
The Princess’s Palate will celebrate its 10th anniversary on June 18. Please send money in lieu of gifts to P.O. Box 10301, Aspen, CO 81612.
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