Paul E. Anna: High Points
October 14, 2010
It can happen to any of us and it may have happened to you.It’s 2 a.m. and the bars have just closed. You didn’t plan on being here this late when you left your home in Basalt or on Cemetery Lane or Red Mountain. You were just going to town to see some friends, maybe get a bite to eat. But one thing led to another, a bottle of wine with dinner turned into a nightcap, then just one more round…and next thing you know you were downing shots with that old friend you hadn’t seen since you were living that life on a regular basis. It’s OK. You may feel like #*&% in the morning, and maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing you’ve ever done, but this too shall pass. Provided you don’t make the next mistake.That is, provided you don’t start fishing in your pocket for your keys so you can get in your car and start weaving down the road to Basalt or Cemetery Lane or Red Mountain, putting yourself and everyone else who is out and about in grave and critical danger. Fortunately, blessedly, here in Aspen we have an alternative to that scenario. It’s called the Tipsy Taxi. If you know about it, you should use it when then preceding happens. If you don’t know about it, then read on. It could have a significant impact on your life. Since 1983, whenever someone in Aspen has had too much drink they have had an alternative to getting in their car and weaving down Highway 82. It is called the Tipsy Taxi. All one has to do is ask a bartender or a policeman for a voucher, call a cab and they will have their own personal driver available to take them home. No fuss, no muss, no questions asked. This spectacularly simple and safe alternative is free and can not only save a life, maybe yours, but keep you out of jail as well. The Tipsy Taxi was started as a community service designed to protect the innocent and serve, well, the rest of us. It keeps an average of 40 people a month on the straight and narrow and is funded through mostly private donations, as well as fees and fines paid by those who were not smart enough to use it and have subsequently been charged with DUI and other offenses. I was thinking about this program when I found myself outside a bar at 2 a.m. recently in another resort town. I was sober enough to know I shouldn’t drive so I asked the bartender to call me a cab. “You don’t want to do that,” she replied, “the closest cab is 30 minutes away and he’ll charge you for both ways. You’re looking at $50 easy and least an hour-and-a-half.” Fortunately, I was less than two miles away from my hotel and it was balmy night so I took the path of least resistance and strolled home. Still, I thought, I wish I was in Aspen. We know how to do these things right.