Marolt: Life’s a “bitch” everywhere you go
I love this place, and it’s not even home. How’s that for living in the moment? For two weeks I’m a Costa Rican, if not officially then in my soul. Pura vida, baby! I am compelled to play. I don’t have to work. Forget about the best of both worlds. It’s the best of this one. I have completely forgotten the other.
My watch is in the safe, and my phone doesn’t work. The only thing I know for sure is that the sun is high in the sky when I wake up. I’m in the surf when I can be and read books under the shade of a palm when I want to. My skin gets darker by the minute at all other times heedless of my current coating of SPF. How’s that for tangible evidence that you are gaining local status? You don’t even have to tell anyone how long you’ve lived here.
The food is great, the beer is better, and I was ready to be a surfing champion after a watermelon daiquiri that was part of a beach-bar drink special that I wasn’t a part of but was the beneficial odd man in for the extra drink that needed to find an owner before it melted. It turns out that I was as good as the next person and one lounge chair closer to the server.
I don’t have a tat yet, but plenty of mosquito bites and a few welts that I think are minor jellyfish stings have given my body some interesting color and design. I don’t mind. I’ve learned that sunburn on an itch is a bitch, but down here we are all so mindful of saving the planet that our awareness of bugs and other menacing creatures as part of what makes it all go round helps us to relish our inadvertent direct contact with them in it.
I feel like I could stay here forever, but I think that feeling might only last a few weeks. We’ve only got today, and today this place feels perfect, but if tomorrow should actually come, I’m not sure I would stay here.
When I was about 22 and began to seriously ponder the ways of the world as a kid with a college degree, little experience and no job will do when he’s not either skiing or tuning skis in the back of a ski shop, I could not believe that everyone in the world didn’t want to live in Aspen. By then I had talked to enough people to be absolutely convinced that there was no better place on the planet to be. Visitor and local alike, everyone loved it.
Now, I’m not so sure. Oh, I’m pretty sure it’s the best place for me to be, but a funny thing happened when I left for a few years to seek my fortune. I actually met people who told me that, while it certainly is an awesome place to visit, they could never live there. Huh? I was talking to people where they lived, where they had made their lives, not in the place where they were getting away for a little while, relaxing and fantasizing about “what ifs.”
I now believe that the people who are most infatuated with places like Aspen and Snowmass Village and Samara, Costa Rica, are the people who come for a few weeks every year. They come and immerse themselves in everything great the places have to offer while being able to ignore all the things that drag you down into the mundane of ordinary living, like work and mowing the grass. I totally get the idea of having a house in a great location looked after by a reputable property management outfit that charges an arm and a leg to do it and that sits empty for most of the year; I just can’t afford one.
This morning, as I strolled along a sunny street of this quiet tropical paradise, I paid special attention to the man lacquering the wood trim on his front door before it gets too hot and his neighbor, irritated, trying to get his motorcycle started, looking like he’s late for something. They’ll probably be out there when the waves are right for surfing this afternoon, but they have to take care of life in the meantime.
I have no such worries for the time being. I’ll see you in a few days. La pura vida es donde haces todo los dias!
Roger Marolt could move to Costa Rica for two weeks every year. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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As development cranked up at the soon-to-be Snowmass-at-Aspen ski area, the Aspen Illustrated News published a photo spread in May 1967 of the construction happening throughout town.