“You never really know someone until you divorce’em…” said the man at the bar to the other man at the bar. Bits and pieces of their conversation floated above the ambience giving me sound bites with which to sketch a rough outline of their lives. The first man seemed to know some things about real estate as he was bragging about how he would buy a foreclosed property, give it a “30 day rehab” and flip it for a nice profit. Both men had lived in New York City at one point. Yuppie is the term that comes to mind: younger middle-aged with plenty of money and opinions, but with enough selfishness to prevent either money or opinions from becoming a serious threat to the world’s status quo.
Everyone vacationing in Winter Park this time of year seems to have money – well, everyone except me. 😉 Why would you be sitting in a resort town pub shooting the breeze on a weekday afternoon unless you had money? There are only two types of people here in Winter Park in September: middle-aged yuppie men and older retired couples. And, of course, a handful of younger service sector folks to keep things running.
As I rolled into Zephyr Mountain Lodge yesterday after 24 hours on the road that included a jaunt up Pike’s Peak, a man seeing me approaching stuck out his thumb. In milliseconds my eye appraised his appearance and demeanor, found them unthreatening, and I found myself pulling over. The hot shower and soft bed would have to wait a little while longer. I did not see his two friends on the other side of the road. My poor little Honda Civic Si hatchback was already stuffed with my gear, but it managed to carry the three additional large men without complaint.
The three had mountain biked over Rollins Pass from Boulder and were looking for a ride into town to get some food and beer. They offered to buy me a beer and dinner for the ride and I happily obliged. Again, the word yuppie loosely comes to mind when attempting to categorize the three.
“A Texan with a beard? I didn’t know Texans had beards,” said one. From my appearance to my philosophy and politics, I think I did a good job of shattering their Texan stereotypes. “Are there any Democrats in Texas?” one asked. “Not very many. I’m a libertarian,” I boasted. Since an aversion to clichés is hardwired into my personality, I enjoyed getting to distance myself from the “left-right paradigm” and explain the nuances of my particular “libertarian” philosophy. “A libertarian is generally for as little government as possible. The purpose of government is to ensure every person has maximum freedom. The only time government should step in is when one person’s actions endanger another person’s rights,” said I.
The man who thumbed me down was a Canadian who flips businesses: buying struggling companies, getting them running smoothly and then selling them for profit. Of the three, he seemed most interested in meeting a Texan. After I explained my view of the political climate in America, he pondered a second and then described himself as a socialist without seeming to realize that “socialist” in America is a dirty word. Later on, however, he said he was for small government, so I assume his political opinions were merely for conversational purposes.
The only two things the three men seemed to have in common were money and real estate – they were neighbors. The second man had recently quit a wine importing company based in New York City. He said his former company hired a psychic for $500,000 a year + paid penthouse with the intent of “creating a new culture” within the company. That was his cue to leave, so he moved to Boulder.
At several natural and appropriate moments in the conversation I interjected my Christian beliefs hoping to open the door to further discussion, but religion seemed to be a taboo subject amongst the three. All three were married with kids and seemed to love their wives and families, so for that I found them very respectable.
All in all, it was an enjoyable interesting experience having dinner with a random collection of people representing a sector of society with whom I’ve never had relations. They taught me some things and hopefully, in some small way, I had a positive impact on their lives.