McDaniel:Needed: A Worker Bee Improvement District | Word on the Street
by Douglas McDaniel
Aug 26, 2007 | 357 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Word on the street is the worker bees in this town are succumbing to a peculiar kind of malady labeled as Inhospitality A.

This strain of the mysterious disease is known to kill large hordes of ski bums at once. Could be some other peculiar malaise that’s killing them off, such as toxins released by video games. But right now, the research is all centered on Inhospitality A.

All scientists really know is something is killing off the worker bees, and it doesn’t take a super environmental social scientist consultant from Denver to figure out why. Inhospitality A is, if nothing else, more reflective of some kind of socio-economic syndrome.

For the standard worker ski bum herds that used to exist in much larger quantities in town, the problems could be more logically analyzed in terms of a loss of habitat. With Colorado mountain towns becoming the new suburbs, with wealthier, more upwardly mobile refugees from the cities, who can make their living online, pushing them out – and pushing real estate prices up in the process – the standard 20-something aged ski bum worker bee is finding it increasingly tough to find a roust closer, than say, 20 miles from here…

For a standard sized worker ski bum to exist within town boundaries, it must pay rent at, say, $2,500 for a two-bedroom place. Therefore, they must create larger social networks to share the rent, forging a frequently unwieldy commune, or hive for couch surfing.

Under these topsy-turvy social-economic conditions, such hives are known to frequently fail, especially when they run into odds with larger predators, also known as landlords.

Now, landlords in Telluride like to make it as tough as possible for worker bees to nest. Though, certainly, they do like the honey, most new rental applicants are treated with derision. For example, quite likely due to their own financial instability, the landlord predator is seeking first and last rent for said $2,500 two-bedroom beehives, just to cover themselves from the likely crucible of economic conditions their tenants will be forced to face while they try to live here. That’s $5,000, worker bees, just to get a key to this increasingly gated community.

Good thing you can fly, right? Like 40 to 60 miles away to Norwood, Montrose, Ridgway and the rest…

Other conditions contributing to Inhospitality A include waiting lists for affordable housing, or the lack thereof, as well restrictions against pet owners, even in condo buildings where propertied owners are allowed to have pets, or whole residential communities, such as Lawson Hill, where dogs are not allowed. Indeed, one might wonder how many donors to the Last Chance Society’s Fur Ball own and rent properties with pet restrictions. Surely there must also be relief for the worker bee ski bum and their natural accoutrement to the world of the living: That is, a dog who likes to wade in the San Miguel River, or two.

Adding to this toxic shock syndrome are such factors as meat displays at grocery stores with art gallery prices, gas prices at the pumps that make you want to put the automobile in the museum, and home heating and utility considerations that when, guided with a sense of conscience, make you wonder what all the fuss about sustainability is, anyway.

The business community is moving to forge a Business Improvement District, but who will speak for the back-end victim of every squabble, every imbalance, every minor earthquake in town: the worker bee ski bum?

What’s needed is a Worker Bee Ski Bum Improvement District. Assessments for the WBSBID would raise funds to, say, maintain a list of price-gouging landlords, fund an underground railroad for dogs through Lawson Hill and around the Valley Floor, or organize nightly patrols for ailing ski bum worker bees about to spend their last pathetic dollar in the bars. Lists of spare couches, as well as good maps for caves, would also be maintained.

Eventually, the money collected within the district could pay for a study (which would lead to a three-year project) to reintroduce the worker bee ski bum into a freshly-painted Victorian with a porch (with an actual one playing a mandolin and wearing a cowboy hat) on Pacific Street. Thus, a special zone for an endangered species would be preserved, if somewhat precariously, as just another vivid remnant of Telluride’s glorious past.

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