Not the Aspen I know
While the external opinion of Aspen, Colorado, may conjure images of women (and men) in full-length fur coats and the jet-set drinking champagne, those of us who live here know a very different community. How many areas of the country remain in which kids can have a fun evening on their own without their mom shuttling them in a minivan, helicoptering over their every move, where there is safety and freedom, the only predators of the bruin variety?
On a recent evening my twin 12-year-old boys hosted four of their friends at Ryno’s Pub $ Pizzeria, the most seemingly kid friendly place in town, with video games that include dueling snowmobiles and zombie apocalypse shoot-outs. I love the independence and BMOC ability of my boys to host their friends, so I left them to entertain.
About an hour later I came to pick them up. The bartender, whose name I sadly did not catch, chastised me for leaving children unattended in a bar, saying they were not in the business of baby-sitting and had been way too busy to take care of my children. While he said that the boys were quite well behaved, he was concerned about liability. He had a difficult time conveying what the rules are for unaccompanied minors but was sure that a transgression had been made. He said he should have called the police, which would have made an amusing addition to The Aspen Times blotter.
Are we a city in which there is an age required to be a customer in a pizza arcade? Are well-behaved tweens less welcome than drunk and unruly adults? These boys spent over $200 on their pizza and video games; are they less welcome than the man at the bar ordering $4 beers? Shouldn’t we be encouraging our youth to learn proper behavior without micromanaging their every move? I believe we should allow freedoms when they are handled well. We should not take away some of the things which make our tiny community a conflux of international worldliness and small-town Americana.