Meredith Carroll: Even the guilt is extra in Aspen
If there’s traffic on the Whitestone Bridge en route to LaGuardia Airport when I’m scheduled to fly back home to Colorado, no one apologizes to me on behalf of New York. Yet my husband, Rick, and I were both sheepish and full of excuses last month when it took double the time you might have thought it would for our weekend guests to travel from Denver to Aspen and back.
The fact is that any trip to or from the Western Slope that doesn’t go as planned, or goes longer than planned, shouldn’t — and doesn’t — catch Rick and me off guard. Then again, we’ve lived in Aspen for a combined 42 years: Not much about getting or being here surprises us, although much about it still makes us feel bad anyway, which also is not a surprise. Rick and I have ascertained after nearly 18 years together that our respective Catholic and Jewish upbringings have a lot of crossover guilt. It seems that God puts the fear of, well, God in Catholics, while for Jews it’s the abiding dread of knowing one day you’ll definitely disappoint your parents.
Then there’s Aspen, which has a way of absolving people of religious guilt by doling out free spirituality everywhere they look. If you want to get closer to heaven than the view at the top of the Silver Queen Gondola, I’m pretty sure it’s either not legal here or, honestly, you’re high enough already. But what Aspen lacks in pressure to worship on any altar besides the mountain it more than makes up for in other, extra Aspen guilt, such as:
• Inviting people to come visit you all while knowing what it will probably take for them to get here.
• Inviting people to come visit you to ski all while knowing what their lift ticket could cost (it may well be the same as a round of golf at a nice club, but so many fewer people break a leg on the links than the slopes).
• Inviting people to come visit you all while knowing what it will take and cost them to get, stay, and ski here — and then there’s no snow.
• Inviting people to come visit you and then watching them realize they eventually have to leave while you get to stay.
• When it snows on the day your invited guests are supposed to leave.
• Inviting people to come visit you and they don’t see a single live Kardashian or Real Housewife the entire time.
• The lack of air. And no, it’s not a supply chain shortage thing.
• Inviting people to come visit you to do all the outdoor stuff only to watch them realize there might not be enough air for their sea-level lungs to do any of it.
• Inviting an out-of-town guest to join you at an Aspen restaurant and then cycling through the emotions of watching them realize the menu isn’t an April Fool’s joke.
• When the weather is so nice in Aspen and you voluntarily stay inside.
• When the weather is so nice in Aspen and you know someone else, somewhere, has to involuntarily stay inside.
• When the weather is so nice in Aspen and you know it’s not even kind of nice most everywhere else.
• When there’s a global pandemic it must be irresponsible or immoral to enjoy anything as pure as Aspen’s nice weather, yes?
• Getting around Aspen via anything other than foot or bike.
• Not getting out of Aspen very much.
• Not really wanting to get out of Aspen very much.
• Not really needing to get out of Aspen very much.
• Not buying everything locally.
• Buying only locally for a month and then having to buy everything on Amazon for the rest of the year.
•Only really getting out of Aspen to go to Target (see also: Buying only locally for a month and then having to buy everything on Amazon for the rest of the year).
• Usually always driving against all the traffic.
• Living in a community with so many Aspen problems, even for Aspen.
More at MeredithCarroll.com and on Twitter @MCCarroll.