Roger Marolt: Roger This
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
It was a great vacation, until we got home. Don’t get me wrong, where we went was far removed from the daily grind. There were no televisions, laptops or newspapers to distract us. The weather was nice, the scenery pleasant, the accommodations plush, and the local people interesting and friendly. We bargained steadfastly with local artisans for original handmade local souvenirs and spent freely on fruity drinks made with cheap, common rum. All in all, things away from here were about perfect.
What then, you ask, could have occurred upon our arrival home that caused me to have such distemper as to declare that the entire extent of our travel abroad resulted in little worthwhile? I will waste no words in expressing exactly what happened in our absence that has caused such distress: nothing.
That’s right. Nothing at all. Not a thing of interest happened while we were away. If there is anything that can ruin a long vacation to an exotic locale more quickly than to return home and find everything the same as when you left, I don’t know what it is. Give me rain every day where I travel, give me dysentery for the majority of the time I am gone, let the sanitation workers, cab drivers, and maids go on strike in the places I visit; a good vacation can be salvaged from the wreckage of all this, as long as something is different in my hometown when I return.
Imagine my disappointment, then, when the first glance at CNN in a civilized airport showed that the stock markets hadn’t changed in three weeks. Why on earth had they even been opened then? President Obama appeared content about the banking, automobile and health care industries, and showed no indications of wanting to nationalize anything else at the moment. A perusal of USA Today indicated that the same celebrities where fighting ruthlessly in the press to prove they were most fit to be good parents in custody cases, and the same athletes were denying their usage of performance enhancing drugs. The Red Sox were still in first place, the temperature in Los Angeles was predicted to be 75, and somebody wrote that the mosquitoes would be thick in Wisconsin this summer.
Despite the disappointment in finding the larger part of our world the same, I did not give up hope. I was only two flights and six hours away from the volatile, ever-changing, never-standing-still place I call home. Surely all kinds of things had happened in Aspen!
My mind went wild with anticipation. What would it be? Had The Elks Lodge evicted Amen Wardy Homes out of their building and brought back Cap’s Auto to replace them? Had the Common Sense Alliance finally made their point about the entrance to town after 10 years of full-page ads and hundreds of thousands of words to explain the simple solution to traffic in Aspen? Had the city hired a fiscal responsibility consultant? Had Mick finally been recalled? Was Andrew Kole the new mayor?!
The possibilities for fat to chew on and juice to wash it down with seemed endless! I couldn’t wait to get home and grab a copy of The Aspen Times. Alas, upon touchdown on the tarmac of perpetual debate it was all quiet on the home front, too. While we were away the mortician twiddled his thumbs, the firefighters polished their trucks, and even the bankers took a holiday from filing foreclosures. There hadn’t been so much as a cat scared up a tree. After perusing the papers, I doubted whether the printers had bothered to change their presses.
Once again, I know what you are thinking. For eons homo sapiens have come home from their holidays to no news at all and have coped quite nicely by the tried and true method of changing themselves instead. But, no matter how widely the technique has been employed, I find it to be pure folly.
Like many before me, on past trips I have acquired a temporary accent from England, tight pants from France, prayer flags from far-flung mountains, and closets full of floral print shirts from various beaches. At best these phony indicators of personal growth from voyaging are transient, and nothing compared to the authentic transformations that can occur at home. Give me one major upheaval at City Hall while I am away for every dozen acquired tastes for foreign delicacies or native customs I attempt to practice at home, and I am a happier man. Any joy that affectations bring is only temporary.
Wracked by the pains of being the same person in the same place as three weeks before, I stretched and strained my brain to find change that would justify the great expense and inconvenience of travel. It struck me suddenly like the experience of watching spray-tanned hula dancers chanting traditional Samoan songs with Louisianan accents. It was actually odd that nothing had changed in Aspen.
In all my life, the one constant in America’s preeminent resort of indelible glitz has been change. It occurred to me that normally you can’t blink downtown without a new building springing up or a historic one being torn down. Normally politicians come and go faster than RFTA bus drivers. Every simple rule and regulation is invariably offensive to some citizen or another, and always fair game for endless debate.
Ha! What do you know? Nothing changing in our town was the one change that was such a remote possibility in my mind that I had completely missed it! We had an awesome trip after all!
But, it is good to be home.
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