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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of July 11 - July 17, 2001

  News

Whereís Andy Rooney when we need him?

Commentary by JoELLEN COLLINS


I try to live my life according to the phonetically abbreviated Thai expression on my Jeepís license plates, "MYPNRAI." Roughly translated, "mai pen rai" is a catch-all expression that perfectly captures the essence of Thai attitudes. "Donít sweat the small stuff," "No problem," and "youíre welcome" are some of its many uses.


O.K. Itís that time of the year, the time when itís quite hot, the streets are dominated by vehicles with out-of-state license plates, and where the construction tolerated in the spring is wearing out its welcome. In short, itís the time of the year when many locals get cranky at irritants or inconveniences they have accepted in cooler months. Itís a perfect time for the curmedgeon Andy Rooney to be among us.

Lest I emulate his sense of outrage too closely, let me say that I understand the need for tourists in our town, that I know "progress" has itís inconveniences, that weather is not something I ought to waste time grumbling about since I have no control over it, and that I try to live my life according to the phonetically abbreviated Thai expression on my Jeepís license plates, "MYPNRAI." Roughly translated, "mai pen rai" is a catch-all expression that perfectly captures the essence of Thai attitudes. "Donít sweat the small stuff," "No problem," and "youíre welcome" are some of its many uses. A year ago when I revisited some Thai friends, I would hear these words often as we took wrong turns or got lost or spent too much money to see elephants. "Mai pen rai." The idiom reminds me every time I get into my car to accept life "on lifeís terms."

However, the other day I got rattled at an insignificant thing and decided that I needed to air some of the small annoyances that occasionally rise to the surface of my mind. Although I hope they roll off my back with penning them here, perhaps you may share some of my dismay.

First, a truly petty matter (as maybe they all are): Have you noticed that the sticky rings wrapped around socks or hosiery will often cause a snag when removed? Is this practice designed to discourage theft, encourage easier display, or shorten their life so the buyer must get another pair sooner?

Then the other day I opened a box of Kleenex (brand name deliberately included) and noticed that it said, against an attention-getting yellow background, "STILL 175 TISSUES." Why is that caveat necessary? Do we think they will cheat us by including fewer tissues in the same sized box, a practice that seems to be endemic to packagers of goods ranging from diapers to potato chips? Where has the trust in brand name products gone that one has to be reminded, "Weíre not cheating you (today)?"

I know these are small matters, but hereís one I bet many of us share: Why do people let their dogs poop and then leave the stinky stuff there? Each unit in my condo development is equipped with a trash can that is taken to the larger garbage facility by maintenance crews.

It is no trouble to carry a plastic bag with the dogís leash. I, for one, am tired of either having to step around or pick up huge poop piles for others.

A bit larger is the issue of recent sidewalk construction by the two massive new buildings in the middle of town. While I try to make my trips through this morass less frequent, I admit to anger that someone elseís need for the big bucks is diminishing the charm of my town and then, to add insult to injury, making it really inconvenient for passers-by. I donítí even drive much through the construction zones on Highway 75, so I realize that my pique is minor. How much can we protest and have any influence? I worry that the hillside ordinance will somehow be reversed, and then the floodgates of over development will be opened even further.

My ongoing issue is the increasing tendency of people to observe "Ketchum time." I am a bit obsessive about this, I know, and I have learned to take a magazine with me in case I have to wait for someone, but I am always amazed at the concept that another personís time is more valuable than mine, that being 30 minutes late for an appointment is somehow O.K., or that if I give a dinner party and people come any time it is somehow acceptable. With all the cell phones around here, I wonder at the lack of courtesy in calling. Perhaps I should join the perpetrators and be less punctual and more "laid back." But then I would be violating my motherís teachings.

So there you have my cranky issues. I try not to exhibit road rage, I help lost newcomers when they canít find either Elkhorn or Sun Valley resort as they take the great circle route between them. I accept with equanimity the loud music and traffic of the summer concerts at Elkhorn, just across from my home. That is part of living here (although only the "thump, thump" of the bass seems to emerge from the other sounds.) I try to be accepting and tolerant.

And, early in the morning, when I am walking my dogs around the same loop that bewilders visitors, I look at the surrounding mountains, the clear and crisp air, and my doggies trotting along and remember that I should greet each day as they doÖwith happy anticipation and a wag of the tail. Perhaps venting here will help me do that!


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.