Alison Berkley: The Princess’ Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
I ran into my friend Jen at City Market yesterday and cornered her for one of those I’m-so-bored-I’ll-talk-your-ear-off-if-you-let-me conversations.
You know what I’m talking about. Sometimes I think the reason people go to City Market isn’t because they really need that container of coconut water or the small package of pesto but because they’re bored.
I mean, ask yourself this: How many times do you go to City Market each day?
Jen actually does have a life (kids, husband, her own business), so I knew the clock was ticking as I babbled on about every little thing I’d had on my mind for the two hours since Ryan had left the house and I had no one to talk to.
“I’m just so tired of this phase of my life,” I hear myself say. She gives me a quizzical look and that’s when I know my time is about up.
We’ve already gone through our usual discourse about yoga and hair and other narcissistic subjects.
I say, “Oh! Did you decide if you’re going to get the Brazilian blowout? Rita just did mine at Queen B and I love it.” I know as I say it that it is a shameless plug, both in real life and in the column I will inevitably write later.
“Let me see. Take your hair down,” she says.
I pull the elastic out of my hair and spin around. “This is just a blow dry – no flat iron or product or anything.”
“Yeah, I’m gonna hold off,” she says, wrinkling her nose. “I need to save up for other stuff.”
“Yeah, I hear you,” I say, thinking I probably shouldn’t have showed off my hair when I haven’t washed it in two days.
That’s when I say, “Oh, god! I’m just so sick of it. I’m sick of hearing myself talk.”
And she’s like, “What?”
In a miraculous effort to change the subject she starts pawing the nearest produce and says, “I’m gonna roast a chicken for dinner. Do you think I can just roast a bunch of veggies with it?”
I’m not done venting yet so I go into a rambling dialogue about my most personal thoughts and feelings and psychosis instead. I know most shrinks would charge 150 dollars an hour for it, but it’s a lot more convenient and a lot less expensive to just pin someone I run into at the grocery store.
I also realize that I probably look like hell, what, with clothes that are so five seasons ago and should probably be on the racks at Suzy’s. I’m exhausted after a long weekend of partying, drinking too much and eating too much and staying up too late.
It all started last Thursday with The Meeting, which is hands-down one of my favorite events of the year. Even though my life of following pro skiers and snowboarders into big mountains and writing about it is so 15 years ago, I still consider myself somewhat of a groupie, especially when it comes to my friends from Teton Gravity Research. I went so far as to move to Jackson for a season to be with them, to feed off their passion for life and skiing all things extreme.
Even though I settled down somewhat, they kept going after it, making ski movies year after year. Their latest is “Light the Wick,” and it showed at the Sundeck of all places, at night. I still can’t believe the Skico is cool enough to do that, and to put “After party: 11 p.m.” on the schedule.
This year they outdid themselves with a bonfire outside the Sundeck on a full moon. The only thing better than that is riding the gondola down at 1 a.m. with my friend T.J. from Jackson. For some reason, he loves John Denver, even when he’s not in Colorado. I think there were eight of us in the gondola screaming the lyrics to “Rocky Mountain High,” at the top of our lungs as we descended over the lights of downtown, the sky lit up like something you’d see in space.
We didn’t get home until well after 3 a.m. and it took me like two days to recover. Just in time for my cousin Todd to visit.
Cousin Todd is the big brother I never had (or as he likes to say, “brother from another mother”) so he and Ry had to do some serious male bonding. The next two days were a blur of pizza, football, barbecue and beer. I sat feebly and tried to stick to salad and liquids as they ingested more calories than a weight-watching female should be forced to bear. But I’m not gonna lie – onion rings are beyond my willpower threshold, especially the fat ones at the Woody Creek Tavern.
We did all the touristy stuff with Todd. We drove him up Independence Pass. We took the bus up to the Maroon Bells (along with 3,000 other tourists who wanted to see the peaking leaves that day – no joke) and hiked up to Crater Lake. We rode our cruiser bikes down to Woody Creek and got a ride back. In other words, we didn’t do much of anything to burn off all those onion rings and beer.
A lot of this is going through my head as I’m standing there talking to Jen. I’m thinking my eyes are probably looking a little puffy and my belly a little poochy and thinking what 40-year-old woman still carries on like a teenager?
That’s when I started thinking I’m tired of this phase of my life. I’m tired of only thinking of myself all the time, of how I look and what I’m wearing and how much I weigh and what the trends are and what I’m going to wear to the next party.
Or am I?
Let’s face it: Aspen is certainly a place where Peter Pan is more than just a syndrome. It’s a way of life.
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