Yes, poor princesses do exist |

Yes, poor princesses do exist

Alison BerkleyAspen, CO Colorado

“I found that coffee you tried to steal from my house,” my friend John said. “You obviously forgot it. It was stashed in that plastic dog food container in my laundry closet. How pathetic.”Pathetic. Ouch. I always thought pathetic was one of those really bad words, the kind of word that pierces through the air like nails on a chalkboard – that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It’s a word that resonates long after it has been spoken, like the smell of bong water that’s been spilled on the carpet.”I can’t believe you called me pathetic,” I told him a day later. “You made me feel so guilty. I’m sorry I tried to steal your coffee, but I wasn’t being sneaky. You know whenever I steal something from you I always tell you about it.”(Oh, relax. He got the coffee for free at Food & Wine just like everyone else I know who went by the Starbucks tent a million times.)”The only reason I called you pathetic was because you forgot to take the coffee that you tried to steal.””Oh,” I replied, chuckling a little. I guess guilt really is a self-inflicted wound.I never thought the day would come when I would be “borrowing” food from my friend’s cabinets. I sort of assumed I could live in a dream world for as long as I desired, cruising by on credit cards and the occasional big paycheck to tie me over and/or save my ass from the last round of excessive spending.Those days are over. No more splitting big purchases onto three credit cards. No more transferring balances to new cards, and definitely no more loans. It’s the loan that got me into this pinch in the first place.I didn’t plan this whole yoga college thing so well. Hard to know what I was thinking when I agreed to let my teacher loan me money for part of my tuition so that I could come back and work off my debt. Maybe I should have thought of that when I maxed out all my credit cards in Hawaii. (Just so you know, there is a place in the world more expensive than Aspen and I managed to find it!)I just never thought the day would come when I’d be this poor. It’s getting harder for me to live in that dream world, imagining how my life might be one day when I sell my book/marry rich/become famous. The fact of the matter is I still live above a Jacuzzi store in a tiny one-bedroom where jet fuel blows into my windows and hot tubs are lined up outside the steps to my condo, encased in wood frames and ready to be shipped to the next mansion I’ll never get to live in.I know, I know. Woe is me. The truth is, I’ve learned a few things being poor that are kind of cool. A few tricks of the trade, if you will.For starters, my mom always taught me two things: Never bring more than $5 to the bar, and never show up to a party empty-handed. One of the most annoying things about my mom is that she is always right. Just because I’m poor doesn’t mean I should sacrifice my dignity. That’s where the regift comes in. All I can say is thank God I saved all those crappy bottles of wine and cute gift bags they came in over the years. Hell, throw a little ribbon on anything and you’ve got a gift, right?In terms of my own money-saving schemes, my big one is I’ve stopped driving my car during the day. Riding my bike from the ABC is actually faster, especially when you consider not having to find a parking spot. My favorite game is “Race the SUV”, wherein I select some extremely overpriced gas-guzzling import and see if I can beat it to town.The fun part comes when I get to pass my unknowing opponent every time he’s stopped in that long line of cars, blasting by on my dual-suspension mountain bike, clad in skirt and flip flops, blonde hair blowing in the wind. I just feel so enviro-chic, which is apparently all the rage these days. (For those of you who thought I became self-righteous after yoga school, I haven’t even begun yet). Just so you know, it’s all about being green these days, whether you’re staying on top of your recycling, feeling a little jealous of that rich housewife, or maybe even a little hung over after too many shots of tequila at McZanely’s. You get the idea.I’ve also solved my shopping problem. My friend Amanda and I (also a poor yoga instructor) go into all the stores we love and try everything on without worrying about the price. We spend as much time as we want in the dressing room, admiring each other in the mirror and imagining to which event we might wear said outfit. That’s really what shopping is all about, keeping that dream alive, living in that fantasy world where the perfect clothes are the answer to, well, everything.Then we change back into our sweaty yoga clothes and leave (god, if they only knew). We always carefully hang everything exactly the way we found it so the shop girls don’t hate us the next time we come in for a little fashion party to kill time between taking a yoga class and teaching one. In that regard, Paris and Nicole got one thing right: There is something to be said for the simple life.It just goes to show you don’t need to be a rich girl to have a rich life in Aspen – especially when you have friends who still love you, borrow, beg or steal.The Princess is not too proud to accept donations and/or marriage proposals. Send your pledge to