Word on the street is the Spur is a catastrophe, enough to make one wonder why anybody would want to run for mayor of Shark City, for you Jaws fans out there.
Indeed, the most memorable thing I can think of hearing recently was from a local woman who said she was a specialist in the anthropology of natural disasters. I thought, yeah, listening to the same recent town council meeting, I was becoming a disaster anthropologist, too, as the list of unexpected town financial woes rolled across the dais. She said, more or less, “There are no technical solutions to natural disasters. They are social problems.”
All of them, well, almost all of them, the fault of the automobile, I’d say.
For a so-called “green thinking” community, Telluride celebrates the invention of the wheel on a daily basis like no other. Think of this precocious momentum as a product of a century or more of forcing overheated machinery uphill to 10,000 feet or more, and thus, all of the successful applicants to the game have arrived, en-masse, for one big mechanical wheel festival.
The real word on the street here is how amazing it is more people don’t get crushed. Every single kind of engine is here: the motorcycle gangs, the candy colored jeeps, the Hummers (gotta laugh), Escalades (Stop it! Stop it!), the beer truck, the beef jerky truck, the twizzler stick truck, the Indian blanket truck, the bottled water truck, the cat hairball truck, and so on, because we need all of that stuff up here.
This is not rocket science, of course, but we have to keep in mind that this is all a war with gravity. The extra fuel needed to deliver fresh seafood, caught just the day before, via Fed Ex from Hawaii to Allred’s Restaurant is, in my mind, such a tantamount example to this age of excess it hardly matters anymore.
The great wheel of excess, with so many varieties of bikes and electric cars and wagon trains of small children and trikes … Hey, I just saw a cool pedal car parked right in front of the library door. What a great place to divest oneself of your vehicle, which most people, quite ironically, are trying to do after they park all of these damn things. Once you get to Telluride you park your wheel and camp and say, hey, that’s eco-tourism!
So then in this pedestrianized town we dance around them as we walk. It’s a compliant peace between man and vehicles that one might expect in fabled New Dehli, where sacred cows mull about with the folks, and nobody thinks twice about it.
But with our social problems here, in the form of the Spur, the whole fragile joke of the transportation system delivering these boats into town in an orderly way has been completely undermined. The system, challenged, can barely raise a sane answer that doesn’t bankrupt somebody in some way and, in doing so, thus potentially provides itself as an omen of much unwelcome change to come.
Clearly, the price of oil is no disincentive to drive. Traffic jams due to construction on the Spur and on Keystone are merely just an extension of the mundane world, which Telluride has long attempted to avoid, but now finds itself swimming in the same swill of social ills caused by the automobile that the rest of the world has experienced.
If local residents could just be enticed with more affordable housing, that would be a start. Of course, of course: This is not rocket science. But a little brainier, I think, would be to re-invent the wheel, or, dis-invent it.
So what I’m proposing are changes to the tax code that would reward non-drivers, people who disavow themselves of their vehicles. Much in the same way people who own homes get big tax breaks, the same could be done for people who refuse to pollute the planet in this way. Maybe in Telluride such incentives could be worked into the affordable housing guidelines.
Now that would be reinventing the wheel.