‘Grow or die,’ gorge and burst
The other day I was in City Market looking for Nestle’s chocolate chips, and damned if I could find them among the milk chocolate chips, the mini chips, the white chocolate chips, the peanut butter chips and the CHUNKS. Same thing when looking for plain old M&M’s.Ditto for Wheat Thins and Triscuits, where you have to dig deep through the low-fat, nonfat and multiflavored boxes to find the “original” among the “new.” Don’t get me started on breakfast cereals.You know what this means. If every product has a dozen subproducts, you’re going to need a bigger store to stock them all, begging the question: Where will it end? And the answer seems to be that it’s not going to end.In our affluent and booming economy (for some), there is no end to the potential engorgement, and the suppliers respond. More, more, more. Bigger, bigger, bigger. New, new new. Better, better, better.We get fatter, fatter, fatter and work harder, harder, harder to spend more, more, more; drive Hummers to health spas, paying dues, dues, dues; trying to get thinner, thinner, thinner, fitter, fitter, fitter.Used to be that we lived in manageable houses, but now a family of two or three needs a 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot subsistence cottage requiring housekeepers, property managers, personal assistants and gardeners trimming stray weeds with manicure scissors.Between the upkeep and remodeling of existing properties and the construction of new ones, it’s no wonder we have a traffic problem, but we have to grow, grow, grow or we will die, die, die.The Music Associates need a $60 million face-lift for their music school. First it was Harris Hall – originally proposed as a small rehearsal space for its students – then the permanent tent, now the $60 million school and a $2 million trail to get to it. It never ends.In smaller locales, potluck dinners are held for new pews or new stained glass windows for the local church. In Aspen, all of our hundreds of nonprofits are vying to go Uptown. Filmfest, the Theater in the Park, the Buddy Program, Food and Wine, Jazz Aspen, the Art Museum and others – all started small but now it’s more, more, more, bigger, bigger, bigger, wanting to be the best, best, best.When will it stop, stop, stop?Will all of the digging, building, renovating, moving, improving and expanding make us more attractive? Should we be proud that the crane is Aspen’s symbolic bird? It’s a national situation, but didn’t we always want not to be like THEM?Su Lum is a longtime local who wishes we would slow down, down, down. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.
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