September 2008

A report from the land of the rich and famous

By Suzanne Strazza

Greetings from the land of the rich and famous. I am here, clearly outside of Montezuma County, CO, visiting my parents (who are neither rich nor famous).

Yes, this is a place where you can spot a celebrity on every corner. In the past I have encountered Clint Eastwood, Demi and Bruce (pre- Ashton), and the illustrious Gov’ner of California. This trip has been sighting free unless you count Theresa Heinz- Kerry sans her bad-haired husband, whom I ran into at church.

And what was Suzanne doing at church? you ask — and a Catholic one at that!

Well, there are all of these incredibly beautiful Ugandan orphans who are on tour as a singing choir here in the U.S. and all of the incredibly rich do-gooders in town are hosting them while they perform several times to raise awareness for the plight of the Ugandan people. The “concerts” were listed in the paper and the one tonight was at the brand spanking new American version of the Chartres Cathedral. So we thought it would be really cool for the kids to go, etc. But, lo and behold, once we were in there, seated (read: trapped), we discovered that we were at Saturday night Mass complete with Latin and incense and blessed-be-toyou's. The orphans were amazing, but my guys hang with the whole church thing so when everyone got up to do something, we snuck out and went out to dinner.

But we did spot Theresa on our way out the door.

The reality is, though, that everyone here looks like they're from Hollywood. We went to the coffee shop this morning (and mind you, there is only “the” coffee shop. No one who's anyone would be seen drinking at Starbucks). And the standard uniform for women was velour sweatpants (tight over very taut asses), highheeled, bejeweled flip-flops, cashmere sweatshirts with cute stripes which allow small glimpses of tanned midsections, with those cloth baseball-ish hats with cool peace signs on them, huge earrings and lots of diamonds.

And I looked like the total frump ass. As my good friend pointed out, “When we say we're in our sweats to go get a cup of coffee, it means don't stand too close or you'll catch my morning breath!”

It's a wonder that I don't kill myself after a few days up here. I went out this morning in what I thought was a fairly hip and sassy outfit, only to be totally humbled before I even got my latte. It is rough going here for the socially insecure individual. Even my kids say that everyone looks different.

And they look like something that crawled out of a gutter compared to the kids here. So, back to that celeb thing. One of my mom’s friends, we’ll call her Jane, was driving down the road the other day and the Schwarzenegger- Shriver clan was riding their bikes down the road (kids, bodyguard and all) without helmets. Jane actually pulled them over to admonish the movie-star governor and his Kennedy-clan wife for allowing their children on bikes without helmets. I think the word “irresponsible” was used in the discussion.

God bless Jane.

On with our tour.

The boys and I went to the country club yesterday and people were refreshingly chubby. Not nearly as tight as they were last year when my sisterin- law and I hung out picking out nose, boob and ass jobs.

But there is still a difference. Mind you, I said to Toto, “We're not in Cortez any more.”

First off, there is yet another uniform to figure out. This one includes a white, sheer cover-up to wear from the locker room to poolside (approximately 10 yards). It is then taken off to reveal bikinis with lots of accessories (read: more diamonds and high-heeled flip-flops). The cover-up goes back on if you move from your lounge chair to one of the shaded tables where your freshly grilled lunch is delivered to you by gals whose work shoes (more heels) cost more than all of my shoes put together. If you choose not to wear your sheer white cover-up to the table as this may feel a bit overdressed, you can casually tie on a very short (but still demure) sarong.

These are not the same as the hippie ones that men like Ethan sport while skateboarding

There is also the visor thing going on here. Everyone has really cute ponytails that don't spaz off at the ends like mine does. The noticeable thing about the ponytails is that they are blond. And they seem to come by it naturally.

Folks then put on their cute white visors, sunglasses and 15-carat diamond earrings. For the more adventuresome, there are the sparkly danglers that clearly came from Van Cleef, not Target.

Speaking of visors, we stopped at Cabella’s on the way here and I tried to buy one with their logo emblazoned across the front. No luck. I guess people who shop at Cabella’s are not the visor-wearing type.

The men are really the sun-worshippers here. They grease up their balding heads and lounge poolside, rolling over every 15 minutes for the perfect tan. They also wear designer shades (like my favorite Realtor) for real. In eavesdropping I overheard at least seven different conversations that included the words “mountain bike,” “rad,” “totally” and “gnarly.”

This, from men over 50.

The other thing about this place is the number of collars on shirts. Everybody wears them. The men do not wear T-shirts, they wear collared shirts. The women wear them too. Jackets with big standing-up ones (often accompanied by a sweater casually tied around the shoulders over the jacket but below the collar). Long-sleeve polo shirts, sequined polo shirts, button-downs with cute floral prints or preppy stripes — ALL WITH COLLARS THAT HAVE LIVES OF THEIR OWN.

I am shamefully realizing just how many of my shirts are topless. Whenever I am here, I feel like I am living out that nightmare of being naked in public. Now my clothes feel that way too.

Thank God I will soon be returning to Mancos, where I feel dressed up if I have no stains on the front of my shirt and all of the buttons on my jeans are intact. I can go back to conversations about irrigation ditches, potholes and the bag sale at the Good Samaritan Center.

P.S. I did find out that many of the “softer” people that I have seen here are either tourists or the hired help (i.e., nannies at the pool). So the real people of the town are still living up to the extreme level of enhanced perfection for which they have become famous.

Suzanne Strazza writes from Mancos, Colo.