That Guy, uptown A Train, New York City, May 10, 2012
Is there a cooler individual on land or sea than this week’s That Guy? The boots, the shades, the buttery leather shoulder bag, the monochrome suit with its subtle inky-black textures…man, That Guy has got it down.
Sometimes I wonder what makes a person “cool” - is it a simple lack of timidity, an ingrained sense of ease in the world…or is it something else, something deeply coded in one’s consciousness? If this is the case, I don’t believe that “cool” is the antithesis of “uncool”, dorky, awkward, Urkle-y.
No, I think to truly be “cool” is to live life without fear.
That Guy is not worried about being late for his next appointment, getting a bad haircut or bleak economic prospects. If it happens, it happens. And he’s not stressed about his romantic attachments. If, say, his girlfriend starts acting distant and weird, he doesn’t start checking her text messages or calling her eight times a day. He just lays back in the flow of his own awesomeness and realizes that if she can’t appreciate his considerable charms, this is simply her problem, and ultimately her loss.
That Guy was so cool, in fact, that he didn’t even flinch at me blatantly taking photos of him on a near-empty train. Happens all the time, I bet.
It makes me wonder, could any of us aspire to be like That Guy? Is it something you can teach yourself through rigorous study, like irregular French verbs or the tango? Or do you need to be born That Guy? Born with a sense that your place in the world is secure, that no matter what, fate will elevate you above the strivers, the pretenders, the razor-scooter rollers and the girls who flatiron their hair. Born with the sense that maybe, just maybe, you’re a bit better than everyone else - but why would you bother trying to prove it?
I’ll never know, but at least I have That Guy’s image as a source of inspiration and quiet awe.