Red Card Roberts
January 10, 2017
It's not unusual for me to admit (somewhat exasperated) that I've spent an obscene amount of time "walking around in circles."
This usually comes after being insanely busy for a stretch of time, yet having very little to show for it. I'll feel like I've been doing, running, solving and moving all day, yet somehow the laundry still isn't done, nor are the dishes. The driveway isn't shoveled. The dogs haven't been walked or even fed. Nothing has been scratched off my to-do list. I might as well have spent the day "walking around in circles," because that's about as productive as my day appears to have been on paper.
This week, however, I think I'm going to start driving in circles, literally — just because I can. At least for a limited time.
In about a week, indulgences such as a left hand turn, a quick trip to the grocery store, or just actually driving (straight or in circles), will be a fond memory.
I saw a man running on a treadmill at the gym, wearing his credentials. They kept flopping in his face with each step, but he wasn’t about to take them off. Perhaps he thought he was on the VIP treadmill.
As Sundance looms, locals don't have the luxury of "walking around in circles." We've got to get stuff done, STAT. We have to stock up on the essentials — aspirin, toilet paper and wine; dine at our preferred restaurants and visit our favorite shops. Soon they'll be overrun with Hollywood's inner circle and converted into a VIP swag-lounge with bouncers and "are you on the list?" askers out front. We've got roughly eight days left before a swing through Starbucks resembles a mix between a suicide mission and the game Frogger.
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This is the week for locals to circle the wagons and prepare.
The Festival has changed quite a bit since I first arrived in Park City. There are a lot more Hollywood A-listers and a bit less truly independent films. There are more tourists, more confused drivers and more movies that fewer and fewer locals can get tickets to. There are more people darting across a busy road in the dark, wearing head-to-toe black, the glow of their cigarette the only thing drivers can see. The number of "don't you know who I am?" types grows each year, as do the creative ways us locals figure out how to adapt to the 50,000 visitors who descend on us. Most of whom seem about as frantic as a pack of rats in a burning meth lab. Every Sundance I am shocked by the level of extreme panic and amounts of caffeine a person can simultaneously have in their system. I imagine there are more relaxed people in an electric chair.
Despite how amusing I find the frenzied Festival goers, often even more amusing is the outfits and the antics. Anyone who's lived in Park City for over a year has a story that starts like this: "One time at Sundance I saw…"
A few of my favorites include: The time I saw a man running on a treadmill at the gym, wearing his credentials. They kept flopping in his face with each step, but he wasn't about to take them off. Perhaps he thought he was on the VIP treadmill. I've seen a woman sitting in a hot tub talking on her cell phone, reading a script to her agent and cursing to him about it, while smoking an e-cigarette. There was the time I got "front-ended" by someone who missed his turn and instead of just going to the next intersection and correcting course, put the car in reverse and backed into me. A friendly reminder to tourists: Three right turns make a left.
The outfits are always entertaining too. Lingerie, fur jock straps, formal gowns, wigs in every color of the rainbow and bathing suits have been known to parade down Main Street. The choices in footwear are often anything but practical for winter in mountains. To walk through a snowbank in them is to, well, square the circle.
And of course, by the time the barricades are taken down and tourists have packed up and Main Street has been returned to its normal charming state, we're left temporarily feeling like we're circling the drain.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident, and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.