It’s been, like, 2 years already?
Happy anniversary to me!Bust out the martini glasses, crack open those beers, and pass the bong – the Princess has officially survived two full years since the first column was published in The Aspen Times on June 18, 2002. Little did I know the day things would never be the same. The day that first column hit the stands I bought a six-pack of beer thinking I had reason to celebrate. When Carl, the Carl’s liquor store guy, saw the name on my check, he glared at me over his black-rimmed glasses, his hard, blue eyes giving me the once-over.”We’ll see how long you last in this town, Princess,” he said.I tried to brush it off and act like I didn’t care. Like, whatever, I get that all the time. But the truth is, it rattled me. I tried to respond coolly, but I’ve never been good at that, so I think I said something lame and whiny like, “Jeeze, give me a chance,” that had no backbone whatsoever. I wondered if maybe Carl had forecasted my future as a local columnist in that 10-second exchange. I remember thinking, “Good lord, what have I gotten myself into?” and pictured myself being run out of town, a gaggle of angry Aspenites and a pack of small, purebred yipper-dogs chasing me down Main Street throwing rocks and empty bottles of Perrier or whatever they could find. To think I would have to face this guy every time I wanted to buy a six-pack of beer, which, during my tenure living in the Yellow House, was quite often.It was only the beginning of many exchanges I’d have to face with Aspen over the past two years. The e-mails, the phone calls, and the occasional, “Oh my god, that’s YOU?” when I paid for something with a check or credit card. I’m always surprised by people’s reactions, or that they even react at all. Often I get the old, “I know who you are,” after an unnecessary introduction. Every once in a while people will threaten me face to face, tell me that I better not write about them, but “just in case you do, my name is spelled …”Occasionally, I have to answer uncomfortable questions from parents of friends who read my column online and don’t know what to make of it. They want me to know things like, “What’s a bong?” As polite as parents are, they usually refrain from telling me how they really feel, opting for vague comments like, “It certainly is … honest, but you better stay away from my son, you dirty whore” and stuff like that.Then there are all those long-lost friends who come out of the woodwork when they read about me in the news. Like my friend Leah from high school wrote for the first time in 10 years, not to say hi-how-are-you or anything like that. Just five little words: “Do you need a lawyer?”But somehow I’ve managed to survive the whims of Aspen’s moods, its diverse and somewhat unpredictable community, and the confines of its tiny but far-reaching borders. Carl never said anything about my columns to me again, and I like to think that maybe he even learned to accept me. On this, my second birthday, there are a slew of other people (in no particular order) the Princess would like to thank for their undying support and brave loyalty.The true Aspen locals: John Gilles, for having my latte ready for me before I even walked in the door. (Zele is crazy for letting you go as they have erased the very essence, heart and soul of the true neighborhood cafe.) Darrel and Charles from Darrel Dewitt Salon for my healthy, happy hair and free therapy.Thanks to Jean Robert and Bernadette Lofton for the best kind of tough love at Jean Robert’s Gym. Mark Uhlfelder and the whole crew at Ski.com for making me a part of the such an old Aspen family – more than 30 years and still going strong. Props to Ed Foran for helping me purchase my first home. Vince Lahey for treating me (and every other local who sets foot in Genre) like royalty. The bartender at the Caribou Club for a “shot” at being friends.Nansche (or some alternative spelling of Nancy thereof) at Goldie’s for her great sense of humor and impossible-to-resist clothes. Katherine Thalberg at Explore Bookstore, your flattery is the highest compliment I could ever receive. Kevin Byford and Eric Smith for teaching me how to snowboard 11 years after I started.The Johnny McGuire’s guys (I can’t wait to see what you have in store for the Fourth of July parade this year). Mr. and Mrs. Rally Dupps for being my biggest fans. Everyone at the Aspen Writers’ Foundation who treats me like I’m actually a real writer. All the other proud members of the eclectic Aspen media: Brent Gardner-Smith, Jerry Bovino, Tom Egan, Sterling Greenwood, Rick Carroll and Carolyn Harvey for your ongoing support and encouragement.Thank you to my dear friends and family for your unconditional love, even after I exposed the most intimate details of our lives and relationships: Tim Mutrie, John Hufker, Brady Emens, Emily Beck, Denise Walters, the Yellow House crew, Sarah Murray, Clay Shiflet, my bro and parents, and the doggies (Sebastian, Harley, Siena, Memzer and Lorax).The people at Aspen Skiing Co. who stuck with me against better judgment: I don’t want to get you in trouble, but you know who you are (S, R, and D).And last but not least, Mike Hagan for his open mind and heart, and everyone left at The Aspen Times willing to give the Princess free rein.Most importantly, thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my column from beginning to end.Kisses!The Princess is feeling nostalgic and will be back to her obnoxious self next week. She’s in L.A. on the second leg of the 2004 Summer Wedding Tour and will be home soon. E-mail her at email@example.com.
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