Guest Commentary: How to be a Texan in Aspen
As one of the thousands of Texans who has descended into the Roaring Fork Valley like locusts this summer, I feel it is my responsibility to launch a campaign of sorts for my fellow heavier-set tourists.
These are extraordinary times. The current COVID outbreaks in Houston and Dallas have created even more of an impetus for the heat-fatigued to look north. Texans are now everywhere. The baggage claim at the Aspen airport reeks of leftover brisket and spilt ranch waters. The decibel levels in the J-Bar have grown, as have the average life-jacket sizes on whitewater rafting trips. But adding “possibly infected” to our stereotypes of “large” and “loud” can tax the patience of even the kindest of locals.
Accordingly, some ground rules are in order for visitors from the Lone Star State during this unprecedented summer.
1. Wear a face mask. Bedazzle it with burnt orange rhinestones if you must. They take it seriously here. Spoiler that you can bring back to your Fort Worth mahjong circle: It seems to be working. An added bonus is that you now only need to Botox half of your face.
2. Spend money. Retail keeps the ship afloat and Texan dollars are excellent for patching revenue leaks caused by the pandemic. Buy artwork and big meals, tip servers like you’re Jerry Jones after a Cowboys victory, but please …
3. Stop buying those dumb, custom-made hats. There is a limit to conspicuous consumption and the look-at-me-and-my-unique-but-not-really-faux-aardvark-skin $900 fedora has got to go. There are few things more transparently solipsistic than these pleas for Instagram likes.
4. If you’re well-boot-heeled enough to afford it, don’t post a pic from a private plane. Let the L.A. socialites peacock from 30,000 feet up. It’s a groan-inducing look in 2020. If you want to be that tone deaf, go stand in front of a speaker at the Belly Up (once social gatherings are permissible again).
5. Don’t eat another marijuana edible because the last two haven’t really seemed to kick in yet. I know it’s legal here — how exciting — but respect the advice of the dispensary purveyors. Otherwise you’ll be spending your evening humming “Eyes of Texas” as overworked EMTs pry you from the fetal position on the floor of your shower.
Thanks and see y’all at Gorsuch. There’s an ostrich-skin face mask that has my name on it.
Steve Thompson (Hotel Jerome’s Bellman of the Month in July 2005) is a banker in Houston and escapes to Aspen whenever possible.
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