Letter (Sept. 5): A sound compromise
A sound compromise
Mulling over the present controversy over excessively loud music on Aspen’s Restaurant Row, as well as the continuing torrent of angry letters to the local newspapers, I find I am troubled by two things above all.
First, nobody seems to have any sympathy for the complainants. Now, maybe they are in fact total stinkers; their spiteful barring of less-affluent neighbors from using the proper elevator in the building would surely indicate as much.
But maybe their worst sin, if indeed it is a sin, is that they simply bought a pig in a poke. Perhaps they so wanted a piece of the Aspen dream, downtown version, that they happily invested a whopping sum of money to realize that dream, having no idea whatsoever that with that investment would come a wholly disproportionate amount of misery in the form of unwanted noise from revelers below. Maybe they just didn’t do their homework, letting their hearts rule their heads — a fault to which even the most prudent have been known to succumb.
I do sympathize with them about the noise: it would drive me crazy, too. All I want, when I lay my head on the pillow, is to look forward to what P.G. Wodehouse sublimely termed “eight hours of the dreamless.” I definitely do not want my rest, dreamless or not, being disturbed by loud music blaring from next door.
Then there is the fact that the Aspen Brewing Co. is so wrought up by the charges against them of noise pollution that they actively want to go to trial. In my benign world view, brewers and distillers are right up there with medical missionaries and philanthropists of all stripes. It seems to me that their noble task, that of creating worthy stimuli to social intercourse, should on no account ever be interfered with, except for the most commanding of reasons — hardly the case in the present situation. Aspen has always been a healthy, carefree drinking town. One worries about its future.
Here is what seems to me a clear solution, in the form of a simple quid pro quo: Aspen Brewing Co. and surrounding restaurants: Lowering your noise level by 20 or 30 decibels won’t keep your patrons from getting their musical groove on. (And those same patrons, as they one day long hence glide into seniority and happily discover that they can still hear voices across a crowded room, will have cause to thank you for your restraint.)
Complainants: Seeing a significant measure of peace and quiet restored to you with the decibel reduction, come back down to earth and unlock the elevator.
As the late, unfortunate motorist Rodney King put it in the midst of his vastly graver troubles, “Can’t we all just get along?”
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Poor Elizabeth Milias, if she were a local, she’d know. (“The ‘L’ word,” commentary, Jan. 16, The Aspen Times)