Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Whistling Dixie

Man 2/11/09

People use their clothes to make statements all the time. And this gentleman was no different. At first I thought he was perhaps an aging hipster – though not very hipster in style.

The hat was this faded baseball cap – a camouflage print actually, with a Confederate flag patch stitched on the front. Now, normally, the typical reaction is that he is either a good ol’ boy from the South or perhaps making an ironic statement. The thing about it was, he was also reading this thick hardcover book: “The South was Right”. And if there was a more opportune time in our recent history – with President Obama’s election and President Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial, and this being Black History month – well, let’s just say that Civil War awareness is at an all time high this month.

So, what does a defender of the South dress like on the NYC subway?

A faded charcoal grey denim jacket. The Levi’s red tab clearly visible on the left chest pocket. Classic. And underneath a light grey athletic hoodie; fully zipped up. I guess the militia look really only started to dawn on me when I realized he was wearing Army green cargo pants. It looked like something one would get from Army Surplus. Basic cargo pockets on the front of the pants, and two pockets on the rear, all with Velcro flaps. The pants were made from a cotton twill.

On his feet? Black Doc Martens. Yes, Docs. Cap toe, mind you so not the classic ones you remember from the 80’s. But still Docs with that unmistakable stitching.

He had short hair underneath that Dixie cap. A full beard, but not quite overwhelming or overgrown. Just about to get scruffy. His eyebrows were dark. No jewelry, watch or earrings. I’d say he wouldn’t seem out of place even if he was in the deep South.

He was about halfway through the book. He stood the entire time he was in the subway car, leaning against the door. Moving when he had to let passengers in or out. Perhaps done with his book for now, he put it into his messenger bag, which was this basic black nylon number with a TL brand logo on the top flap.

For the rest of the train ride, he watched this Chinese mother tend to her two small children. The oldest was probably around 5, and the younger about 4 at most. What was so interesting? Well, the older boy had a camouflage winter down jacket on, and his brother was wearing camouflage sweats.

Kindred spirits maybe?

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