Out of the Blue

Look Both Ways

Janus sees two sides to every story

By Deborah Salomon

As the year winds down and Christmas draws nigh, I think of Janus, the Roman god of transitions for whom January was named, the god pictured with two faces — one looking forward, the other, back. This timing works for me since I was born soon after New Year’s Day, that year being 1939. So many years, so many experiences. Some make me feel old, others, like a feisty youngster.

Old: Seeing a close-up of Robert Redford — McDreamy before Patrick Dempsey was even born. Now his face — untouched by plastic surgery — is craggier than the Utah topography where he hides out. There it is, promoting a new movie called, no less, The Old Man & the Gun.

Young: Remembering how he looked at the Vermont grocery store when visiting his daughter and grandchildren — tousled, cute, short.

Old: Resorting to jeans with a stretchy waistband.

Young: Doing something about it, then burning the stretchy jeans on a funeral pyre.

Old: Preferring my desktop PC to any of the newfangled laptops. 

Young: Knowing my treasured photos are safe in a box, not on a cellphone memory chip.

Old: Remembering that I was the first, after his parents, to hold my 10-minute-old grandson. In May, he graduates from law school.

Young: Knowing he thinks I’m still tolerably cool.

Old: Associating (w)rappers with what encloses a candy bar.

Young: Knowing, deep down, that Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Elton John are better than any of them.

Old: Preferring to receive bills printed on paper, by mail.

Young: Paying them electronically. This way, I always have financial records at hand, filed in — horrors! — a brown accordion folder.

Old: Having lived through at least three cycles of bell-bottoms. Pants can only be cut so many ways, extremes being stovepipe and palazzo.

Young: Wise enough to shelve a few pairs until fashionable once again. Leggings can’t last forever, as evidenced by Melania Trump, whose designer palazzos currently flap in the breeze.

Old enough: To miss every answer in certain Jeopardy! categories. I don’t even understand the clues.

Young enough: To know every answer the young ’uns miss. And then some.

Old enough: Remembering when elected officials were respected for their service and behavior.

Young enough: To express outrage when they disappoint. Me too, baby.

Old enough: To like my coffee plain and black.

Young enough: To laugh at a $4 cup of froth.

Old enough: To like plain, unsweetened tea.

Young enough: What is chai, anyway?

Old: Remembering when Life and Look were much-anticipated weekly magazines and fifth-graders cut up National Geographic for projects.

Young enough: To follow blogs.

Old enough: To miss power steering.

Young enough: To mistrust self-driving cars.

Old enough: To have stayed in locally owned motels, cabins and “tourist homes.”

Young enough: To appreciate Airbnbs.

Old enough: To yen for Howard Johnson’s 28 flavors.

Young enough: To understand Ben & Jerry’s message-laden flavors. But really, guys: “Bernie’s Yearning?”

Old enough: To remember when Miss America was a big deal, and the biggest deal was the (one-piece) swimsuit competition.

Young enough: To appreciate why emphasis has shifted, along with ratings.

Old enough: To remember, shudder, when old ladies wore old-lady shoes.

Young enough: These boots are made for walkin’.

Old enough: To remember when family doctors made house calls.

Young enough: House calls? They don’t even go to the hospital anymore. Smart. Might catch a nasty virus.

Old enough: To remember life as perfectly acceptable before McDonald’s, Costco, Amazon and Hulu.

Young enough: To binge-shop at Whole Foods.

Enough enoughs. C’mon, Janus. Let’s go have a beer. No, not a Rheingold. One of those local crafty brews with names like “Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter.”  PS

Deborah Salomon is a staff writer for PineStraw and The Pilot. She may be reached at debsalomon@nc.rr.com.

Recommended Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
0

Do you want to see PineStraw Magazine in your inbox?
So do we.

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our upcoming art and culture events newsletter, PineBuzz.
By submitting your email address, you are agreeing to our terms of use.
X