Roger Marolt: No, I never saw that house up the street before in my life
I went out of town for two days and, when I came back, it was gone. It was a house a few blocks up the street from the house I grew up in. I bet I have walked, ridden and driven past that house-now-gone 10,000 times and, as I glanced over at the orange plastic fence around the hole that used to be its basement, I can’t remember what it looked like. Not a clue.
Just before I noticed it missing, I was distracted by an oddity while driving past the bus stop at the Castle Creek Bridge. It was a young, fit-looking woman standing there in fashionable yoga clothing, mat under arm, smoking a cigarette. I like to think I wasn’t judging, but it didn’t look right — not here in the land of hyper-awareness.
At some level it made sense; you do a little damage inhaling toxic chemicals from a smoldering stick on your lips and then head to the studio for some intense exercise involving deep, cleansing breaths. On the other hand, I was thinking, “Stop that!” Of course, the woman has every right to be standing there ripping cigs before her workout, but I don’t think she should. I don’t see my thoughts as a constitutional issue.
The crazy thing about these unrelated events is that the image of the smoking yogi will stick with me longer than the image of that house that had been part of my daily scenery since I was 7. While buildings being scrapped and replaced represents all that is wholly predictable around here, the smoker was something unexpected.
I exercise, I eat right and drink eight glasses of water a day, so I doubt my memory is failing from neglect. I believe time has cosmically anesthetized me to change coming in the form of bigger, taller and more intricate carvings on front doors domino-ing over the shadows of what came before.
I’m not complaining. In fact, it’s about damn time. Do I really want to be awake for the rest of this municipal surgery? I mean, this is when things really get ugly, when they start messing around with the guts. I don’t need to be knocked out completely. Numb me locally, where the incisions are being made, and give me a sedative to keep me calm when I feel vibrations from the bone saw and smell the flesh smoke from the cauterizing. As with sipping a warm glass of white wine on an empty stomach in the sun, I don’t mind being aware of everything around me as long as I don’t care.
Like with this Paradise Bakery thing, I have the feeling of being offended, but without anger. It’s wrong. I don’t like it. I can’t believe the landlords have a good reason to do this, although I know they think they do. The letters to the editor entertain, but I can’t feel their collectively expressed pain. I know any boycott of the Italians next door will be about as effective and over as quickly as the one against Boogie’s when it came to town. It’s finally gone too, right?
I have tasted enough ice cream to know that almost none is bad and so, if you blindfolded me while I listened to the music students on the plaza and Andy Hecht spooned Loro Piana gelato into my mouth, I would probably exclaim, “That’s good!”
I wish we could have seen what would have happened if Paradise had taken the landlords’ offer and moved into the space next door barely preceding the Loro Piana grand opening of their bakery concept 10 feet away. It would have made the landlords and both cookie shops look stupid. The absurdity might have spread around the corner, down the street, up the next block and so forth until the entire town seemed more like the circus it appears destined to become. Mining to ranching to skiing to a big-top tent full of kneeling lions and clowns crammed into a tiny car; it looks like the spiraling double helix of our DNA is going to wrap around the truth eventually.
Maybe the fog will clear the shallow sand spit between my mind’s deepest thoughts two years from now when Paradise has finally moved to an even better location over by the water fountain and they shut down Lift 1A for a couple of years while they start constructing a more fabulous ski experience on Aspen Mountain. But, I certainly hope not. I am finding that life is good in Aspen while huffing the organic laughing gas seeping up from our ancestral burying grounds paved 10 times over and counting. No, it probably isn’t as safe as cigarettes. Don’t judge me.
Roger Marolt is learning that life in Aspen is better if we can only lose our concentration. Email at email@example.com.