The big top is starting to spin | AspenTimes.com

The big top is starting to spin

Janet Urquhart

Well, it’s Food and Wine weekend already.As usual, the spring off-season proved more fleeting than my New Year’s diet resolution – a failing of resolve that comes back to haunt me like the hangover from a box of Chablis as soon as shorts season arrives.Anyone clinging desperately to hopes of one last week of small-town sanity ought to drive into town for dinner. You’ll be parking in “f—ing Egypt,” as I heard one local so eloquently put it earlier this week. ‘Course, you’d probably get a table quicker in Cairo. Or, grab some grub at City Market, but pick up some extra provisions to sustain you in the checkout line. You’ll spend more time there than it took to build the Great Pyramids in the aforementioned parking zone.Yes, summer came faster than a John paying by the minute. It crept up quicker than the price of gas in Aspen and nailed my complacent ass like a parking Nazi working the West End before 10 a.m.One minute, I had the streets to myself; the next, it was crawling with tipsy tourists wearing their burgundy badge of slurage. Been there myself. Slip that Food and Wine pass around your neck and, suddenly, you’re a psuedo-connaisseur, proclaiming some vintage “jammy and herbacious” when you wouldn’t know a hint of oak if it hit you on the head.Then, the big top starts to spin, so you weave over to McDonald’s to order a Quarter Pounder with fromage and super-size the fries.Yes, Food and Wine spikes Aspen’s misplaced pretension quotient faster than brie cranks up my cholesterol count. (If I sound bitter, it’s only because I haven’t scored a pass to Bingefest ’05.)When the big tent appears in Wagner Park, it can only mean one thing: The circus has come to town. More tents pop up in Rio Grande Park and those sideshow virtuosos start tumbling out of the Music Tent – swarms of instrument-toting thugs foisting Mozart on passersby. Empty your pocket into the violin case or else – Dvorák!Does anybody know what time the bear act starts?And, wouldn’t real bumper cars in the core be more fun than the version we have now? I think Aspen should look into it. If you’re not at least 48 inches tall, you’re not allowed in. That should take care of those midgets frolicking in the fountain.And another thing. I could bake a batch of cookies in the time it takes to buy one at Paradise Bakery in the summertime. I hate that.It’s enough to make me head for the hill, but then I get stuck behind panting out-of-towners on the Ute Trail.Here’s the trouble with summer: It goes really fast, but everything else slows to a crawl. There’s so much to do and so little time. Outta my way, people.Janet Urquhart actually loves summer in Aspen, but when does the fat lady sing? Her e-mail is janet@aspentimes.com


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