Marolt: Kill them with kindness
August 23, 2013
There has been a lot of complaining about complaining in our quaint little town. It makes me want to complain about the people complaining about complaining.
In taking the first sip of this drink, before it hits me, it is important to remember that complaining is an ongoing tradition here that is at least as significant as raucous bars and restaurants. We like to bitch, and it is our local-government-, crotchety-old-timer-, and snotty-jet-setter-provoked right to do so.
That said, I don't see much difference between a lady living above a bar complaining about the noise below and local commentators complaining about her complaining. Each is complaining about noise they don't like, and that isn't going away anytime soon.
I know that there is little I can do to cool things down between a woman living in an expensive condominium and the owner of a bar downstairs who are squabbling over the noise that's driving her nuts and making him a living except to offer sitting down with the parties involved, listening carefully to all sides of the story no matter how long that might take, judiciously weighing all options and then conscientiously trying to help negotiate some peace.
But I don't want to do that. I guess my only other alternative is to choose a side based on a newspaper story and go public with a scathing assessment of the situation and possibly a personal attack on the other party.
Isn't that what sensitive, small-town people do in order to preserve the notion of community? The only other option is to let the grown-ups involved work it out themselves, and how stupid would that be? It will be much better if I can inflame the situation.
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The woman above the bar places a high priority on peace and quiet for her baby, her husband and herself. God bless her. You want to keep rockin' with your friends in your favorite nightspots down below. God bless you, too. In both cases, stand up for what you want, but respect the other person for doing the same thing, even if you don't agree. Harmony — that's what we all pretend Aspen is about anyway, right?
I don't think you can't justify your complaining about complaining by claiming that your complaining is more righteous than the complaint you are complaining about, either. I think most complainers complain because things aren't conforming to their narrow worldview. That sounds like a terrible accusation, and it would be, if we weren't all guilty of doing it.
What I think is happening is that this round of attacking the woman upstairs actually has very little to do with her, so I hope she isn't taking it personally. We actually do not know her at all. I look at the symptoms and diagnose the festering of an age-old Aspen wound — resentment of the rich. We know the police and municipal courts can handle the equitable resolution of a simple noise complaint easily, but we won't let them, because this isn't about that. We think the rich snobs are due for a good public lashing, and this story is the strap that we will tie the ubiquitous billionaire bitches and bastards to the whipping post with and then let them have it.
Years ago some fake people I knew faced a similar situation. Notice I didn't say "phony." These people were fake, as in pretend, made-up, purely fictitious. They were Roger and Sheila Canard, and they wrote a super-ridiculously preposterous letter to the editor basically demanding that Sheriff Bob Braudis arrest bicycle commuters who dared to pass by on the bike path just below the sundeck of their lower Red Mountain home without oiling their squeaky chains first. It was basically a noise complaint.
About half of this town went ballistic and basically ran nonexistent people out of it on a rail, and nearly me, as well. Before they left, though, the Canards wrote one last letter that I personally thought was brilliant. They wrote, "The monsters we believe in are the ones we have already created in our minds before they appear in our midst. Thanks for the fun."
And, I might add, "Some of them you can't even see unless you look in a mirror."
In the case of the lady upstairs, I think we should be kind and continue to have fun in the bars and restaurants below, as we always have. We don't need resentment in our song or payback in our laughter. That's the greatest danger to ruining our fun.
Roger Marolt can never remember in which season the monsters come out of hibernation. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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