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Jet-set lifestyle hits turbulence

Alison Berkley

I’m afraid I lost my travel mojo.There was a time when I was happiest on my way to the airport. I was the master of the carry-on, the five-minute packer. I saw a long layover as an opportunity to catch up on phone calls with people I only think about when I’m stuck in an airport. Stuff like time changes and jet lag only proved my ability to sleep anywhere, anytime. A long flight simply required a higher dose of Xanax.I’m afraid my days as a nonchalant jet-setter are done. Sometime after 32, I turned into one of those people who used to annoy me.You know the type I’m talking about. The ones who want to be on time to the airport, the ones who worry about the details like what time the flight leaves or where it goes or when it arrives. I’m that girl who tells people where she’s going and when she’ll be back.I change my answering machine message as if anyone really cares how long I’m away. Then I’ll forget to change it back when I get home so it keeps telling people that I’ll be gone until like three weeks ago. So everyone who leaves a message feels obliged to tell me, “You might want to change that,” which really drives me nuts.Not only that, I have to find someone to dog-sit Cujo II even though I know he will likely tear down any door that stands between me and him while I’m away.I do the sensible thing and leave him at my parent’s house. So what if they live in Steamboat and I have to add an extra day on each end of my trip to drive him there? My parents are the only ones who didn’t freak out when he ate all their doors and tore apart the blinds (twice). My mom shrugged and said, “It’s my fault. I should have opened the blinds so he could see outside.”I decide not to mention that dogs rely on smell, not sight. If she wants to blame herself, that’s fine with me.Plus, my dad is a doctor and can prescribe medication if Sebastian needs it. He’s always asking me,”Should I put the prescription in his name? Sebastian Berkley?”And I go, “Dad, don’t be ridiculous. I need it as much as he does. Go ahead and put it in my name and make sure I can get unlimited refills. Thanks!”So that means not only do I have to pack my stuff, but I have to pack a separate bag for Psycho Paws: his bed, his food, his choke collar with prongs that looks like a torture device, his muzzle (just in case there are small children around), and what’s left of his bed (shredded, don’t ask). And he’s not exactly your out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of pet. I worry about him every single day. He’s my dad and I’d feel horrible if Sebastian ate him while I was away.Bastie’s suitcase is much easier to pack than my own. I can no longer remember what the hell they wear outside of Aspen. Is it cold? Hot? Dressy? Conservative? How many pairs of shoes can I bring before I exceed the 75-pound weight limit?When I try to imagine these other places, I can’t get my mind past Genre, or Chelsea, or life before the whole casual-but-dressy thing. Will people in Cape Cod think I look like a hooker? Will my friends in L.A. think my clothes are too baggy?I then decide I have absolutely nothing appropriate to wear for wherever it is that I am going, so I go shopping. This little outing often takes several hours while I blindly wander around downtown Aspen trying to imagine myself in some other place. I do the usual circuit (Boogie’s to Pitkin to Goldie’s then D&E and Polar Rev, but only if I have any money left. Then the Gap, but only if I’m desperate).I inevitably fall in love with a cashmere/silk thing that I totally can’t afford and buy it anyway because I’m convinced it’s exactly what I need for wherever I’m going, and who cares that I won’t have any money left when I finally get there.My departure ritual used to consist of the basics, like finding a ride to the airport sometime before my flight was supposed to leave. Now that I own my own condo, the preparations begin way in advance, which is ironic considering I now live across the street from the airport and can walk there if I want to.It is imperative that everything be spotless for when I return home. Since I have so much free time after shopping and organizing Pup E. Wackjob’s overnight bag, I decide this is the perfect time to clean out the fridge, wash the linens, sweep, mop, vacuum, dust, wipe down the windows and reorganize all the closets and drawers. That way, when the robbers come to steal all my stuff while me and the K-9 security system are away, they won’t know I’m a total slob. But I try not to worry about stuff like that.What’s worse, me, Miss Icansleepanywhere, will lay awake all night long worrying about what shoes I’m going to wear to lunch with so-and-so and do I need an evening coat in the city, or can I get by with my Juicy sweatshirt? I’m so sleep deprived by the time I leave that I have jet lag before I even get on the plane. I can’t figure out what’s wrong with me. Am I getting old? Turning into my mother? Or maybe it’s just that no matter where I’m going, I like it better here. My life is a vacation and going anywhere is just too much work.The Princess has to go to two weddings in the next two weeks on two different coasts. She’d love to hear from you while she’s away at alison@berkleymedia.com.


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