How odd, Aspen, how odd
Aspen, CO ColoradoIn the 11 years I’ve been around Aspen, I never fully understood how odd of a place this is. And that’s saying something since I was a journalist for the majority of that time and I’ve seen some strange things.Now that I’ve taken a hiatus from my journalism career, I’ve picked up some odd jobs to pay the bills. This past week I’ve been bagging puppies – manufactured stuffed animals that come with a heartbeat and heater designed to soothe young pups. My friend’s boss needed what they call “helper monkeys” to package and ship 2,500 “Snuggle Puppies.” I jumped at the chance to do something fairly mindless but at the same time help the business. So this past weekend, the other and myself monkeys spent hours bagging puppies and talking about the oddities of Aspen. It was quite riveting and thought-provoking conversation. Here’s a sampling of topics: We find it odd that SkyWest Airlines and aviation officials say that the recent weather patterns have been odd – and freak occurrences – thereby canceling dozens of flights because the CRJ-700 jet is restricted when the barometric pressure falls bellow “normal” levels. The fact that it didn’t dawn on aviation officials that Aspen gets its fair share of storms and as a result, the pressure drops is beyond me. Just as recently as Saturday, six flights were canceled. People at Sardy Field were livid. I’m sure they were just as pissed as the others when dozens of other flights got canceled in the past month. I feel for Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen-Snowmass and the resort’s liaison to the aviation industry. He’s spent an exorbitant amount of time apologizing, scrambling and explaining SkyWest’s problems to a frustrated public. Luckily the FAA this weekend approved an aircraft software update that will allow SkyWest to operate regardless of the barometric pressure. Hopefully the pressure will ease up for everyone now. I think most locals would agree that it’s odd when people (tourists) decide that it’s a good idea to step off the curb without looking, then proceed to walk in front of oncoming traffic. I doubt they do this where they live. Very odd. I found it odd on Saturday night when I saw the powers-that-be inside Aspen’s newest restaurant, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, wear earpieces like the Secret Service. It must be one of those corporate things, which usually are odd. The bathroom situation also is odd – you have to descend three flights of stairs, walk through a laundry area and receiving room before you can relieve yourself. I think it’s odd that Ruth’s Chris makes customers drop hundreds of dollars on dinner and then make them deal with crappy bathrooms. The general manager, Jason Knoll, told me that the city refused to let him put a bathroom upstairs where the main dining room is because there’s never been one there. That’s odd since I have used the bathroom near the upstairs bar at Guido’s for years before Ruth’s Chris showed up on the scene. I know Mayor Helen Klanderud has used that bathroom too. (A side note to the bathrooms: Once I found the subterranean facilities, an employee was helping what she thought was one customer who was stuck behind the single bathroom door. Once the door became a jar, five people walked out. Unfortunately, that kind of gathering isn’t that odd in this town.) It’s odd that the Winter X Games won’t have Moto X this year. That was the most extreme thing at the event. I get that it is dangerous. That’s why it was cool. We’ll just have to accept that snowmobiles on snow will be the most extreme sport happening that involves burning fuel at the X Games. It’s odd that the city spends so much money on fireworks for Wintersköl but won’t have them on New Year’s Eve. We used to have them, and I miss the midnight scene. How about shaving 10 minutes off the show at Wintersköl and other annual displays to save some cash so we can ring in the new year with style? Store owners are odd when they shut down their retail operations at 7 p.m. during peak times of the season. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked around town this past holiday season and saw dark stores during prime time. People on vacation like to spend their money after they’ve had a few cocktails. It’s depressing to see them peeking in the windows instead of pulling out their wallets, handing a credit card to a salesperson and walking around with shopping bags.Oddly enough, just a shred of common sense would fix some of these oddities. Got an odd observation? E-mail at email@example.com.