Roger Marolt: Flipping the switch on off-season
If offseason is so great, then why is summer so short? I know. Today is 4/20 and you are probably wondering why I’m asking this question instead of hyping the celebration of smoking dope, but I am old fashioned and I believe myself when I say smoking anything is unhealthy, and so I am not a selective puffer. And I have lived here long enough to know that the offseasons are not really a proxy for what Aspen was like back in the good old days, so I ask the question that challenges what might be the greatest local myth of all.
It’s true: Summer is almost over and anyone who is paying attention is beginning to feel that anxiety that comes with realizing it is slipping by without any of our plans for enjoying it actually coming to fruition. It will be fall before we know it.
My point is not moot. If offseason was truly so great, instead of simply being the local favorite go-to subject for small talk at a slow time of year when there is nothing else to do, wouldn’t we be yearning for the summer to just hurry up and be over with so that we could more quickly get to the next great offseason in the fall?
There is a lot to dislike about the offseason, especially the one that is technically called “spring,” but that rarely lives up to the storybook images of tulips and warm sprinkles of rain we associate with that term. We used to call it “mud season” and that was not a pet name of affection. It was a term that succinctly reminded us of all the things we usually liked to do that we no longer could because of the filthy messes doing them would result in.
Spring is not a great time to take a long hike. Most local mountain biking is illegal until the June equinox. Golfing is OK except for the frequent winds and blustering snow flurries we generally must endure several times per round of nine, because our sore fingers dissuade us from making the turn. Many of our restaurants and shops are closed. There are very few of the cultural events for which we are renowned planned for this time of year. There are no parades or community picnics.
What we do have is familiar faces on the street, although even these are fewer and further between as the slow time of year drags on. I have found it an interesting observation that many locals who proclaim the offseason to be their favorite time of year can be reached by their cellphones in Moab, Utah. I suppose the conclusion one could come to is that the offseason truly might be a great thing there, except it is not. The simple fact is that, when it is offseason here, it is on season there. If you want to experience the greatness of offseason in Moab, you will need to visit there in January. It’s quiet.
One thing we don’t have during the quiet months is work, and there is certainly something to be said about that, at least until the rent comes due.
I like having a little time off to re-charge the batteries as much as the next person, but I am reminded quickly that my batteries are like those of an emergency flashlight that you would find in the trunk of an actuary’s car. It’s like I have a built-in crank that needs to be turned to spin a generator that produces the charge that refreshes my batteries and lights my light. I can only dawdle and putter so long before my bulb gets dim to the point where I can barely see what lies ahead on so little as another gray day.
Don’t get me wrong. The crowds of spring break wear me down. I get frustrated waiting in traffic and circling downtown blocks looking for a parking spot. I don’t like waiting for a table to get a bite to eat after a hard day’s work. The hustle and bustle of catering to tourists to make a living wears me out, too.
I look forward to the offseasons around here just like everyone else. But it’s been a week and I am ready for the predictability of long, sunny days freshened with a punctual thunder shower that completes its cleansing effect right before sunset. I guess my biggest complaint about offseason is that it never lives up to it’s legendary status. It is really only a harbinger of the next one to come, a short three months away.
Roger Marolt is living the dream hoping to wake up and find it is summer. Email at email@example.com.