How do you stay hip? Are you?
Janie, Julie and several of their athletic women friends had skied all day, and were lounging in the sun outside of Iguana’s slopeside bar when Julie looked at her watch. Time to leave. She and Janie, both from Basalt, had driven together, Julie having traded childcare with a friend. The others gazed at the two pityingly, and passed the margarita pitcher on.In the car, Julie grabbed the wheel, dropped her forehead on it, and burst out: “We’re just not cool anymore!”Janie, at the time not yet tethered to spouse or child, protested, “Speak for yourself!”No, none of us meant to be this way. We used to not only go – but stay – out. We were once more … happening.My friend John, who ski raced when I knew him in college, and is now a father and professional, says, using different terminology for the same notion, “I felt my manhood dribble out the moment we walked into the minivan showroom.”A younger friend, Lisa, was recently asked in a job interview, “So what do you do to stay hip?” The question irked her, though she is progressive and current (hey, she sends me CDs of new comedians).What on earth would I answer?Well, I read. I love reviews, from music to movies, and pipe up every movie discussion. Of course, I usually haven’t actually seen the movie. A working parent, I play catch-up most evenings, and supervise homework. I see movies late – as rentals. When they’ve gone weeklong.I like music, listen to different stations, ask people such as the mechanics at the bike shop what they’re playing. (It was the Gorillaz). My favorite conversational questions are asking friends what they’ve been listening to and reading.So I had a shock a year ago when a friend’s 16-year-old son, Sam, earnestly told me that “Garden State” was the best movie he’d ever seen. Days later I read about it. The soundtrack featured The Shins. The Shins? Who were The Shins?One night I asked the guys at the college climbing wall about a CD by the funk band Jurassic 5. The problem was, the night before I had seen the cult movie “Gattaca” – well after everyone else, I’m afraid, but I still liked it – and somehow “Galactic” popped out. (They snickered.)I hate to automatically concede a monopoly to youth, though.Sometimes, especially on the rare occasion Mike and the kids are out of town, I bust out, and hear a local band. Hey, I’ve been seen at the Buffalo Valley Lounge at 1:30 a.m. Once. Last summer I almost went to the Nugget during Mountain Fair.Today I stopped at Iguana’s after skiing, and asked Janie (now hauling Tess, 3) how she stays hip. Only (luckily) through her nephews, she said. “They come up to ski, and bring new music.”She ducked inside the bar and, returning, said ashamedly, “I just figured something out! I looked in the mirror and every single thing I have on is old!”I looked down. My jacket was a nice Cloudveil, three years old, but for me that’s pretty good. My ski pants were fairly indefensible: they came from a sports-modeling job I did for Nike in 1989.”My jacket is pretty new, too.” she said. “My friends gave it to me three years ago. Do you think they were trying to tell me something?”Actually, I tell Janie, I just remembered: I never liked clothes that much in the first place.Janie says slowly, sadly, “I liked clothes.”Wait a minute, was I ever hip?Ah, but I remember this: Living in Boston 18 years ago, I could spend an hour in a music store, talk to the guy behind the counter, and find out about then unknowns like the Replacements. Now, if I have an hour, I need it for something else.That’s why youth is hip. Youth has time.Alison Osius lives in Carbondale and can be reached at email@example.com.
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