Alison Berkley: Walking papers the start of an interesting journey
Well, in case you hadnt already heard, I got fired from another job.Believe you me, this isnt the first time Ive been handed my walking papers. The whole outspoken honesty and independent-minded thing doesnt go over so well with authority figures and bosses and people who dont like being in charge of me. Thank God I have so much experience in this area. Otherwise, I might have been really traumatized by the big foot that kicked my g-string laden bee-hind. Ouch, that hurts! I admit I shed a few tears when it dawned on me that I lost my job, pass, locker and am no longer very popular with all those cute snowboard instructor boys. My days of catching glimpses of them in the locker room with their Gore-Tex pants down, quad muscles blazen in their underoos are over. Bummer, dude.I should have known. Lets just say its not likely that Ill ever lose my job again now that Im self-employed and working por moi. Like my girlfriends always say when they get dumped or screw up royally, Everything happens for a reason.Anyhoo, once I got all that sorted out, I crawled from under my tear-soaked covers to face the world again, holding my head high with a wig, oversized hat and big, dark sunglasses. Through my journey of public scrutiny, I discovered that I am not alone in my ways. Low and behold, Im not the only one in Aspen who has made a mistake, been fed to the local media sharks, ruffled feathers, expressed myself in an unconventional way, talked smack like no other, or lost my job because I crossed the line. It turns out we are just one, big dysfunctional family and, suffice it to say, I fit right in. Like, just the other night, I found myself at the Skiers Chalet having a steak dinner with the Aspen Ski Patrol as a guest at their annual midseason dinner. Like the restaurants rustic old-school ski lodge charm, these guys (and gals) have soul that emanates through their bright eyes and weathered faces, their endless stories and humble confidence, lifesaving limbs. and 100-plus-days-a-season muscles. Theyre the ones who have not lost sight of the mountains that tower over Christian Dior and Gucci and all the other fancy-pants boutiques. They told me stories about the old days when theyd go do the Skiers Chalet for a burger and a milkshake for three bucks, back when the single-person chair was still close to its doorstep. They talked about trips to Chamonix, France, and the Mexican desert and what happens when you swallow the worm (I learned you can actually blow bubbles into the bottle and swallow it straight away, if you want). A good lot of them have been in Aspen for over 20 years, survived and still seem to be good friends, gritty and down-to-earth. I figure it has something to do with an open mind and a free spirit, the reason these are the guys who set Aspens boundaries in more ways than one.The following day, I got a call from a fella called Sterling Greenwood who talks the way I imagined someone with a name like Sterling Greenwood would talk with a slow drawl and wandering mind, like a cowboy with a flask of whiskey basking in the glow of a dying campfire (cheesy but accurate). Hes the man behind The Aspen Free Press, the homegrown photocopied rag you might have seen floating around town recently with a giant photo of me on it. Sterling told me about shaking up the news way back when as a reporter for the Aspen Daily News. He told me about rearing his kids in Aspen, how junk food is killing America and how dangerous all that machinery on the mall is these days. (Suffice it to say, he talks like he writes.) Anyhoo, he gave me the impression that people have been stirring the pot in Aspen long before I got here, so thumbs up.Speaking of newspaper men, I also got a call from a Mr. Hooper, and Im not talking about the one from Sesame Street. This Mr. Hoopers name is Troy, and with all we have in common, Im surprised we never met in one of those chat rooms on match.com. I mean, we lead this, like, totally parallel life. We both work for newspapers. We both used to work for Skico. We both crossed the line and made headlines doing it. I did it with words and he did it literally he cut the rope and got busted for skiing in a closed area (duh!). We both got thrown into the jaws of the other paper whose adolescent rivalry spares no opportunity to lambaste a dumb-ass reporter (or columnist) who gets themselves into trouble in a way thats impossible to ignore. We are both extremely articulate in expressing our opinions, me with my column and him in his news stories. How cool is that? I cant wait to meet him in person.When my booty hit the fan, a lot of people helped pick up the pieces, but no one cushioned my fall like the boys from The Aspen Times, my bro-dee-os who know-me-o. Where would I be without their late-night, bleary-eyed tolerance (from staring at the computer screen, of course) and minds as open as the Fun Deck at Highlands?The point is, I am so happy that I finally found a community of like-minded people who totally get me. Otherwise Id be in serious trouble. Oh yeah, I already am. Like the people who are the heart and soul of this town, I guess its good to know some things never change.[The Princess is going to crawl into Saddam Husseins hole and hide. Send your positive words to her at email@example.com]
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