My own private gondola car
Guess what. I bought a gondola car! I have one and you doooon’t, na-na-na-na-na-na!When I heard the Skico was going to sell them, I assumed they’d be auctioned off Aspen-style, at some benefit for something random like raising money for upgraded weapons for drug enforcement or velvet dog beds for the new animal shelter. I pictured a banquet room with big round tables draped in heavy linens with candles, and the sound of silverware clanking in the background while Vince Lahey screams, “Sold to the Republican Gazillionaire from Texas looking for a tax write off for eighteeeeeen thoWsand dollars!”I’ve got news for you: These things are a steal at $550 a pop. Hello: I recently paid more than that for a pair of shoes. As soon as I saw it advertised, I called the number listed in the paper and left a message. Joyce returned my call the very next day, and was super laid back and nice about the whole thing.”Is there a certain number car you would like?” she asked. “I just want one, thank you,” I replied.”No, I mean, is there a specific car you want?” she explained. I’m ashamed to say there is not. I have never had sex or been proposed to or had any other milestones that would make any one car important to me.”How’s number five?” she said.I did a quick calculation in my head: which credit cards were maxed, how much interest I’d have to continue to pay to keep them that way, and what paychecks I’d be getting between now and March.”Fine,” I said. “I’ll take it.”Everyone thought I was crazy. My parents totally flipped out. “What the hell are you going to do with it?” my Dad asked. “How much does it weigh?” I told him it only weighs 500 pounds, no more than a couple rugby players with full beer mugs. “Where are you going to put it?” he pressed. “Jesus Christ, Alison. Sometimes you are just so ridiculous I can’t believe it.”Then I called the guy who owns my building to see if I could put it in the back yard, at least for now. “It’s a piece of junk, Alison. That is a common area. You can’t leave your garbage out there. Don’t be ridiculous.”It was the second time someone called me ridiculous in a matter of a half-hour. Talk about a buzz kill!Who’s ridiculous now? Turns out these babies are in demand and now I have one and you don’t. In case you missed it, there was a front page story, “Where’s my gondola?” that ran in the Jan. 15 edition of The Aspen Times. Apparently this Pete Coffee guy was bummed he didn’t buy a car before some rich dude from Michigan bought half of them. The Skico guy, Mr. Sewage something or other, was like, “Oops, sorry,” about not reserving more of the cars for locals and passholders.Dude, you snooze, you lose! Lord knows I am not the most organized person in the world, and if I hopped to it, you could have, too. I am very proud of myself for acting so fast, and for making a good investment to boot. My little real-estate-developer brother calls it, “pulling the trigger,” jumping on an opportunity before it’s gone. It’s not like I’m ever going to sell it. I’m way too sentimental to ever make any real money. (OK, fine. Bidding starts at $10,000).I’ll admit I have no flipping clue what I’m going to do with this thing. My vision was putting it out in the yard, maybe next to the pool, for my kids to play in. (No, I don’t have kids, or a house, yard or pool, but that is so not the point). The second idea was once I make enough money to buy my house on Red Mountain, I thought it would look really cool in the billiards room between pool table, pinball machine and jukebox. I am so not into big, pretentious houses. I want my big house to be a fun, playful space and my gondola car will make a nice touch.I heard the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson wanted to put a gondola car in the Belly Up for smoking in. I like the idea of a smoking car more than I like the idea of smoking in the car, kind of like a smoking jacket. Maybe not a smoking car, but a club car, a private space that only VIPs can get into. I picture lots of velvet and cushions with buttons, a private, manly, exclusive space. Upholstery definitely strikes my fancy; though I could go with a more diva feel, like maybe leopard print or zebra stripe, something Paris Hilton would like. It could be a phone booth, a sound-proof space to make super secret, private calls – my future teenage daughter would love that. Maybe I’ll equip it with a videophone for teleconferences or a video camera for confessionals, like the kind they have on MTV’s “The Real World.” Maybe I’ll seal it and fill it with water and turn it into a giant fish tank for my giant foyer, the one that will have the big spiral staircase in it. I could turn it into a steam room and put it next to my hot tub and indoor/outdoor pool. My friend John suggested installing some kind of temperature control and using it as a wine closet. Maybe I’ll just tear out the bench inside so I finally have a damage-proof doghouse for Psycho Paws.For now, I might just put it in my parking space, or display it on my front porch with Christmas lights. I want it somewhere everyone in the ABC can see it, my own not-so-little piece of Aspen history.The Princess changed her mind and will now open the bidding at $20,000. E-mail your ideas for what to do with Gondola Five to email@example.com
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For those of you who follow my monthly missives, and occasionally read between the lines, you may have noticed a trend toward a bit of cognitive dissonance and some internal conflict on my part.