(Not) made in Aspen
This month marks my two-year anniversary in Aspen. Since practically the day I arrived on the shores of the Roaring Fork Valley, I’ve listened to incessant chatter about who and what qualifies as local. Although I pay taxes, vote and occasionally watch GrassRoots TV, I am aware that I have miles to go before I can call myself a true Aspenite.From what I’ve gathered over the past 24 months of residency, I’ve concluded that you’re probably not a local if: You’re not willing to run over a friend on a powder day. All of the digits on your body are overly sufficient to count how many days you were on the mountain last winter. You feel a little silly referring to Aspen Mountain as Ajax and the words “pow pow” will never be heard coming from your mouth. You’ve never seen a Warren Miller film. You know you’ll never be at risk of dying in or triggering a backcountry avalanche. You can’t understand why more people don’t extol the virtues of skiing Buttermilk – the parking is so convenient and there’s never a line for the lifts. You think Vail is also a perfectly nice place to ski (but even you wouldn’t want to live there). You didn’t just come for the winter and stay for the summer – you moved to Aspen with the intention of staying for at least one year. You don’t have a gear-storage-thingy on the roof of your car. You only own one bicycle and you’re not exactly sure how it works. You’ve never been to Moab in April or May. There are many, many other writers you like more than Hunter S. Thompson. You’ve never done shots at Hunter S. Thompson’s home. You weren’t at Hunter S. Thompson’s funeral because you weren’t invited, not because you claim to have had scheduling conflicts. You can’t quite understand why the staff at the Woody Creek Tavern seems to hate you. You think “bindle” is just “bundle” misspelled. You think having three jobs is only a temporary condition. You think it’s nice when so many tourists are in town – it must be good for the local economy. You don’t think “I spaced it” or “It’s all good” are acceptable excuses, bro. You’ve tried to figure out (unsuccessfully) what ZG stands for. It took you a long time to realize that when pronouncing RFTA, you shouldn’t spell out the letters. Who knew Kinder Morgan wasn’t a person and despite the first part of the name, isn’t necessarily a nice company? And if Patrick Roy wants his name pronounced the French way, why doesn’t he spell it the French way? You think the Aspen Police Department is pretty fancy (even for Aspen) for driving Saabs. You’re still not quite used to the fact that there’s practically nowhere dogs aren’t allowed. You think it’s a shame there haven’t been any cute bear sightings in town this year. You won’t die happily just because Widespread Panic played two nights in a row at Jazz Aspen. You aren’t sure why there was such a fuss over Base Village in Snowmass. Has anyone who lives there ever visited that Mall? You’re not willing to vouch for someone’s character based solely on the number of years they’ve lived in Aspen. You wonder how so many people claim local status when the only true local you know is a 6-year-old who was actually born here. (The other true locals you know just moved to Bozeman, Mont.) And, you still haven’t figured out why anyone really cares how long anyone else has lived here (unless it somehow means one of those longtime locals can help you win the housing lottery).Meredith Cohen is prepared to surrender her Aspen passport when she moves to Basalt next month. Questions or comments may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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The past sneaks up on us in the strangest of ways, and I don’t mean bounty hunters flashing those “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters in our faces.