Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate |

Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate

Alison Berkley
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

I was at Clark’s the other day and ran into my friend Jack.

“Good god, how much weight have you lost?” I asked. He seemed literally half his former size. He was dressed in shorts with long johns underneath, as if he’d just been out for a jog.

“Only 15 pounds, but my body has changed a lot,” he said, proud as a peacock showing his feathers. “I’ve been working with a personal trainer.”

I rolled my eyes. “Of course you have. And how long did it take you to lose the belly? Five minutes?”

“I know, honey. I’m a man,” he said, his southern drawl giving a whole new meaning to the word “man,” all those extra syllables and syrupy vowels making it seem more important.

“You heading this way?” he asked, offering his arm.

“Sure am. What else is there to do?” I said, slipping my arm through his and locking elbows as we headed for Clark’s Market.

We began our rounds through the produce department innocently enough. Then he goes, “Oh, my god, look at the size of that banana!” pointing at what I have to admit was a freakish monstrosity of a fruit. “Was it grown near a nuclear reactor or something? My god!”

Jack is the only man I know who could make shopping for fruit so dirty and fun – or at least bring out the dirty and fun in me, which was easy to do under the circumstances of my boredom.

I had to chuckle as he filled his little red basket with healthy choices like apples and yogurt.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one. “Hey, Jack, where are the Marlboros and the whiskey?” asked a girl who had just appeared out of the coffee and tea aisle. He greeted his friend with hugs and kisses and thus we parted ways and began an hour of socializing as we ran into every single person we knew in the store.

By the time I got done catching up with everyone, I’d almost forgotten what it is I was supposed to buy in the first place. Then I remembered: Ryan had asked me to buy him a Sprite.

Only in the off-season would I make a special trip to the supermarket to buy one item. You know it’s off-season when the supermarket is the most happening spot in town.

You also know it’s off season when …

You spend more than half your day on Facebook and actually read the inane, narcissistic crap people post and worse, check back often to see if that satisfying little red notification button is lit up. If you’re lucky, someone might post a few semi-entertaining photos or be tagged by someone you don’t know, so you inadvertently end up perusing dozens of photos of people you’ve never met before you stop yourself and go, “What the hell am I doing?” and close the browser window for five minutes before you open it again.

Then you end up seeing the obnoxious photos people who are lucky enough to be somewhere warm are posting every five minutes. You read comments like “slalomed through the Baldwin Palms in Maui on my run this morning” or “Yesterday was the best day! We did yoga in a natural volcanic steam sauna, hiked through a really cool lava tube and then swam with sea turtles!” You have to wonder how great their vacation really is if they’re taking the time to upload and caption photos on Facebook, but still. It’s where voyeurism meets narcissism and taps into some pretty horrific primal urges. I hate it.

You go through your closet and start giving expensive clothes away.

When you are 5 feet tall and your inseam is smaller than your waist size and you tend to go on yo-yo diets every time there is an important event in your life, you end up with enough different sizes to open your own damned clothing store. The worst part of this scenario is you tend to buy the most beautiful clothes when you’re at your lowest weight, so these are also your most expensive designer pieces. Instead of doing something that might actually make you money, you throw all your skinny clothes into plastic bins and put them into the storage closet. Until one day, you get bored enough to go through them just to make sure they still don’t fit. Then in a fit of frustration and rage, you end up giving them away to your hot friends. You say things like, “I’d rather see you enjoy them than leave them to rot in storage,” or, “If I do ever end up losing weight again, you can have them as long as you’re willing to give them back to me.”

You have conversations with your dog.

Our dog GG is 3 feet tall and 4 feet long and therefore sort of human-like in a way, especially if you are bored enough to get on all fours and then lie down on the floor with him. I tend to do this when I am really hurting for some interaction with something besides Facebook. Besides, I know GG is as bored as I am and bitter that Dad didn’t take him to work on account of the horrible, wet weather outside. So you could say we’re in the same boat. The best part is German Shepherds do tend to “talk” by whining when you really get them going. George takes that a step further with this funny moaning sound he’ll make whenever you ask him a question.

“Are you so bored, GG?” I’ll say.

“MMMrrrrrwwwwrrrrr,” he’ll reply.

“Are you mad Daddy didn’t take you to work?”

“HmmmmmrrrWWrrrrrmmmm” he’ll reply, rolling on his back.

“Have I totally lost my mind, GG Bunny Rabbit?”

“As if that’s not a rhetorical question, you crazy bitch! And don’t call me Bunny! It makes me sound like a total fag!”

The Princess is heading to Alaska, the only place that’s colder and wetter than here. Send your warmest thoughts to

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