Su Lum: Slumming | AspenTimes.com

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

It’s offseason, the town is dead, the election is really over and the Rapture didn’t occur. Now it’s time to hunker down with our Armageddon rations and bitch about the small stuff.

Two major issues which have sprung up are, in order of social magnitude, the check-out counters at the refurbished City Market, and the elimination of the TV guide in The Aspen Times daily paper.

I was one of the very first to scream about the removal of the TV page. I had gone up to Bob Ward’s office to suggest that now that we were running the Sunday daily again, we should run a Sunday TV page instead of bunching up the whole weekend in the Saturday paper, whereupon Bob informed me that the TV page was going away entirely in the near future (now present).

NO NO NO! Take away the TV page? What is Corporate thinking? In one quick glance you can see what movies are playing, what shows are on, what sports events are airing. What next? Damn!

Some of us are more reluctant than others to be pushed and dragged into the 21st century and I’ve kicked and screamed with the best of them, but I was dead wrong about the TV page. We are better off without the TV page.

The TV page was extremely limited and I found I had accidentally self-limited my choices by depending on it. Of course I knew there were a lot more channels than we were covering on our TV page – after all, I have been paying through the nose for them for a long time. The pitfall of the TV page was that I would skim over it and, if nothing hit me as desirable or watchable, then I’d start trolling through the movie channels (501 and up).

Meanwhile I was forgetting about the “intellectual” channels (248-276) where a lot of good stuff dwells (science, history, biography, freaks) and the BBC (162).

It has taken me a while to get used to using the Guide button on my remote control, but it has opened up a whole new viewing world. The Guide shows you the channels in numerical order, and if you have a favorite channel hit the Guide button again and it will show all the programs on that channel for the day.

I’ve learned (a new trick for this old hound) to zip through the channels that hold no interest (Spanish-speaking, sports) by advancing to 162 (BBC), then to 248-and-up and then to the movies (501). You can check out everything that’s on today rather than the handful listed on the TV page we used to run. If you’re a rocket scientist, there’s also a way to eliminate the channels you never watch, but I haven’t gotten that far yet.

The new check-out counters at City Market are another example of premature panic. Both the daily papers are running polls about it, stirring things up as the media is wont to do on slow news days.

Granted, the handicapped signs are confusing (anyone can use the regular registers), but the old way of separate lines went out of fashion long ago in places like the post office and banks, so why not City Market? How many times have you gotten in the old lines behind somebody with nothing more than a cabbage and a dozen eggs, only to have everything go awry (“Price check!” the two words you hate to hear.) while the big long lines you so cleverly bypassed were speeding along at a gallop.

Before my mother died I visited her for a month in New Jersey, which is about a year and a half in Aspen time. I made daily projects for myself, and one of them was to learn how to use the self-checkout counters in scary New Jersey supermarkets. I can’t say I came to love them, but as long as I wasn’t buying anything that charged by the pound it was quite efficient and I had control over the weight of the bags I’d have to carry.

Anyway, the City Market people are working on tweaking the system, and it’s too early to get our pantaloons in a wad.

All I’m saying is good golly, Miss Molly, give peas a chance.


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