Still in Colorado, Pingu pays a visit to one of the state’s most popular resorts. Illustrations by Kieron Black.
There are a bunch of guys that I knew at university – with whom I have downed beers, arm-wrestled, sung dumb songs very badly and puked up chicken balti – who have now gone on to become high-powered corporate folk and upstanding pillars of the community.
When I see them, in the scant moments that we spend together now that weddings and stag do’s no longer see us coalescing as a matter of course, they look slightly baffled – confused at what their lives have become and discomforted by all the clutter that their existence has accumulated. Their wives’ expensive haircuts, the school fees, the payments on the Range Rover and the gardening bills swirl around them like Dementors, draining them of life force.
“Vail is an incredible resort, trapped in a world that it has created for itself”
Their situation reminds me of when pseudo crypto-stuntman David Blaine placed himself in a Perspex box, hanging above the river Thames. He was trapped, for all the world to see, but the longer he stayed inside that box, the greater his feat of self denial was considered by all the passers-by. Conflicted, I can see my old mates’ desire to escape the box is outweighed by the allure of the rewards afforded to them by staying inside the box, and so the life continues.
But when the guard is down, when happenstance or a beer too many creates those moments where honesty prevails, to a man they all crave the simplicity of the life they once had. Wake up, do fun stuff, go to bed. Alas with the provision of money comes expectation, obligation, and ultimately control.
This is how Vail finds itself in 2015. An incredible resort, trapped in a world that it has created for itself, in the pursuit of a clientele from whom it can make the most money.