To complain about rain is mundane | VailDaily.com
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To complain about rain is mundane

I feign the pain

Of draining my brain,

By writing while the ski slopes are parched,

At the end of March,

And outside it does nothing but rain.

Not only that, but it has been raining or just downright hot for the better part of three weeks. The temperature has been hovering around the 60 degree mark, even hotter at times, and there is nary a falling snowflake in sight. Not quite an epiphany for the masses, but I can barely remember what the stuff looks like.

Why is this happening?

Could it be global warming? Is the left side of the coin finally correct about an issue, or this simply the planet itself going through yet another self-inflicted warming trend?

I suppose it could be the fact that I, as well as my keyboard, are in Florida at the moment, but I understand it’s pretty warm back home, too.

Anyway, while hanging out on a beach other than Mid-Vail, I realized how we spend a lot of time around here (there, here, whatever, you know what I mean) complaining about stuff.

Rents are higher than Michael Jackson at a kiddie circus, ski and golf passes frequently take precedence over health-care payments, gasoline is only for the lucky, things like that. Just about everything, compared to Denver, is a good 25-50 percent higher, and it has as much to do with elevation as the Amish do with the proposed gay marriage amendment.

It could be the simple price-altitude correlation, a theory first put forth by those traveling with Alfie Packer: The higher one becomes, the more they are willing to gamble life itself, even if one is forced to eat one’s “words.”

Or it could be the much more sophisticated price-attitude correlation, a hypothesis that has been kicked around here for forty years or so: The higher the price of anything, the more likely those unable to afford anything will complain about those who can.

Either way, I personally spend a good deal of time on the Internet (too much, according to my patient and beautiful wife). So while bumming on a Florida beach I decided to see just how much it costs the Tourist family (note: fictitious name) to plan and execute a seven-day stay from South Florida to Happy Valley during this last week of March 2004.

Yes, I am aware that I have way too much free time on my hands.

I chose the Orbitz.com Web site to do my research, and immediately came to the conclusion that a “package” deal – complete with airfare, lodging, lift tickets and transportation as a minimum – would be by far the most efficient use of Floridian dollars (they look just like Coloradan dollars, only more wrinkled).

What I found was, let’s see, I will try to put this into a single, easily understood word: cheap. However, if that word is spoken truthfully, we must add a syllable or two and pronounce it: Ex-pen-sive.

But hey, although I appear to be lost sometimes, I have been around the experience block more than once (I have metaphoric blisters as proof), and this is just what I expected.

There is a valid reason we have been numero uno on and off since number rankings became all the rage: “You want the best, you have to pay for it.” Said with four fewer words: “You get what you pay for.”

Can I get an “amen” or an even louder, collective “duh …”?

So, without mentioning any names (certainly don’t want to offend anyone), the absolute cheapest package available was at a place synonymous with birds sitting on a fence, and the “package” required you to acquire your own plane tickets, rental car, lift passes and carrying your own bags to the room. However, by flying into DIA, renting a small front-wheel drive car and purchasing lift tix at King Soopers, the entire package could be had for a family of four for around $2,500.

On the opposite end of the scale, remembering that the ultra-exclusive type locales refuse to lower their standards by making reservations available on-line was at a place that, well, let’s just say it rhymes with “Buy-It,” because that’s how one must feel after making the down payment up front for a week’s stay.

Total package cost: $15,500 for one week’s stay, not including food, drinks, Adventure Ridge, movie tickets, pay-per-view in the room, rental equipment, ski lessons or art purchases for the beach house back in Florida.

Filling in between the two were of course hundreds of other choices. But you get the idea. This ain’t a cheap place to visit; hence, it will never be a cheap place to live.

So, to help ease the pain of constant complaining, I offer the only sure-fire, guaranteed way of achieving the ultimate balance of health, wealth and happiness in Happy Valley. One must, no matter the circumstance, never forget and always remember to …

Oops, it’s starting to rain again. I should go inside. I’ll finish this next week when I get home, unless, of course, I come across something more interesting to write about.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net


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