Riding a Port Authority escalator is generally an emotionless event. This remains true until you’re nearly shown your untimely death by people rushing up behind you and throwing you out of their way. This was the scene in my life today as two men shot up the “fast lane” of my escalator. For those not accustomed to the rules of riding an escalator in Manhattan, the left “side” (regardless of how narrow it is) is reserved for people in an extra hurry, electing to additionally climb up/down the escalator stairs while riding. If you’re in no rush and opt to coast along with the escalator’s programmed speed, you simply stand to the right. I typically navigate the left side, but today, even climbing the stairs of this escalator at my moderate pace was not quick enough for these two frantic, would-be jean evangelists.
What was the rush? They NEEDED to track down another passenger riding the escalator 10 people ahead who was apparently wearing “game-changing” jeans, of course. Now, I am by no means a fashion mogul, but this guy’s jeans were the ugliest things I think I’ve ever seen on a man. And keep in mind, I’m from New Jersey and see plenty of poor dress decisions made on a daily basis (no offense, bro). I guess I can’t blame him. He tried. The tan-colored snake pattern carelessly stitched on matched his tan turtleneck and tan Timberland boots. But now I’m getting shoved out of the way because the jeans that looked like someone puked on them while being spun on a rotisserie, had fans.
They caught up to the guy and the temptation to listen to their exchange was too much to pass up on. I removed my earphones and the first words I hear are “hot son!” …. I imagined throwing something at them.
My bus happened to be in the bay next to the guy with the tan puke snake jeans so I walked alongside him for the next 5 minutes (not because I wanted to). He beamed the whole way to his bus. Jesus, really?? But then something triggered. While 99.5% of the Earth’s population would assume these jeans were a practical joke or that the person wearing them was legally blind, there is a handful of people who will cherish them. Even more importantly, there is probably next to no one that will NOT have an opinion on them. And that is what made these jeans perfect. They had pissed me off, inspired two others to pursue them to the point of nearly committing escalator homicide and gotten the owner the glory and attention he’d hoped for by buying them. I’m sure it wouldn’t be long until he picked up his next pair, the two strangers bought their first pair and all three spread the word that these jeans can make even you a Port Authority bus terminal celebrity.
Safe is boring, has been done before and will fail every time. Invest your energy in making things one person will hate, her best friend will covet, and no will forget.