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The Monarchs among us

Clair Smith
Vail CO, Colorado

I observed her finely manicured nails, fur-trimmed coat (and this was REAL fur, mind you- not fur gleaned from an inconsequential mutt, loose on the streets.)

I noted her quality hair-do, dyed the correct color, cut to look just mussed enough without seeming unkempt. Two of her fingers glittered with metal and gems that I assumed were real. Finally, I met her eyes, and smiled, as two people might smile at one another when standing in a long line in pursuit of the same thing. She turned her head quickly, rouge-lacquered lips never parting or turning up at the corners. Alas, though we were seemingly on an equal plane, shopping at a natural foods store for some of the same snacks- we were not equals…

I may be wrong, but it seems to me this is a common malady in our beautiful valley. It’s the beauty that draws people in ” the rich, sometimes famous ” the second homeowners. These people think that because they live here, and can afford their beautiful, but stereotypical homes, they deserve some form of idolization from those of us who “serve” them. When and where did this division form?



Surely it has nothing to do with being a native. I was born here, in Vail, but that doesn’t give me status. Still working-class, I struggle to get by. But it can’t come from being foreign either, we have plenty of people from out-of-town that move here to make new lives, and they’re working-class too. So it’s got to be the money.



After-all, the money boosts the economy, and the economy keeps us going ” supposedly. However, a shout out to all you people out there in the same boat me ” isn’t this booming economy the same thing that makes our goods over-priced and our housing even more-so?

Watching this valley grow and progress has done two things for me. It’s made me love it all the more, its beauty and unique flow of life … and, it’s made me hate it. It’s a unique feeling in watching pastures become developed.

The small town feel that made my parents think this was a good place to raise their child has given way to a busy community where people are constantly being categorized into various cliques.



Anyone who has ever walked through the Village at night during the season knows the magical feeling it portrays, the people, the warmth and the vibe. That is until you run into these people and they immediately know that you’re not one of them. I find it highly disheartening to be treated as though I’m of a lower status than a tourist, less than a mile from where I was born. What kind of treatment is that?

These are the people who don’t know the equally enthralling magic of walking through the village on a warm summer’s day, when it’s more like a giant playground than a winter wonderland. To stroll over to Ford Park, running rampant with music and song, or to go to the top of the gondola in the middle of August just because. These are imperative parts of Vail that these monarchs among us never experience. So how do they achieve their imperial status?

When you get down to it, the Valley is still a beautiful place. It’s full of experience and amazement. However, it has also grown fickle, into a place where people from other countries will look down on you for working here, for making sure that their visit runs smoothly. I feel as though we’re losing our redeeming qualities and moving into a new era, full of cold people who think that they’re better than those around them.

A place can only survive so long under such pressure…


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