On this past Saturday, a beautiful sunny day, I set out for a little motorcycle ride. It was already midday, so the temperatures were up in the high 70’s and heading for the 80’s. I am one of those riders that like to have some semblance of protective clothing when I ride, but when I reached for my heavy leather jacket, I just couldn’t do it. I moved a few hangers to the right and grabbed my trusty blue jean jacket. Saying it has been a long time friend would be an understatement.
I am the proud owner of one beauty of a vintage Georges Marciano Guess jacket from the late 1980’s. It is undeniably one of the most outdated jackets you could ever find. Don’t believe me? Simply search for the term ‘vintage Georges Marciano Guess jean jacket’ and you’ll see what I mean. Tight fitting at the waist, it balloons to Homeric proportions by the time it reaches the dropped shoulders. A couple of high flap pockets on the chest nicely complement the large lower-front kangaroo pouch pockets. Mine, a particularly fine specimen, is an oddly discolored acid wash. Over the years, I have collected a number of flair pins from places we have visited; Mt. Rushmore, Cherokee Harley Davidson, Memphis Belle, Liberty Bell, etc. They have completely overtaken the flaps of the front pockets and started to move onto the front of the jacket. In a lightning storm, I am probably in a bit of peril. On the back lower center of the jacket is a specialty patch given to me by a good friend. He and I enjoy a Gin Martini on occasion, and on one such evening, he presented me with one of the only remaining patches that he had from his earlier fishing days. Proudly displaying a fish, a deck of cards, a martini glass and a giant mosquito … the patch was designed to commemorate many wonderful fishing trips. With the banner proudly reading “Royal Order of Hummers”, I immediately knew it belonged on the back of that Guess jacket.
I know the pins and patch should be salvaged and the jacket should end up in the garbage, but I have always held out hope that maybe it would get a little closer to ‘back in style’. Never gonna happen. But the thing is, it is a great jacket for riding. Because it buttons tight at the waist, and has the oversize and dropped shoulders, it is incredibly comfortable for the riding position. When it is warm out, it has plenty of airflow, but makes me at least feel as if I have some protection between me and the pavement. Hell, if I go down on a bike, and can manage to slide on one of those pin laden pockets, I probably can go for half a mile, sparks trailing behind me … and then we’ll see who has the last laugh. In the end, the jacket sees the light of day for a ride once in a while and then gets tucked back into the closet.
Unfortunately, on this trip, I felt I could use a bottle of water after I had filled the gas tank. Standing in line at the gas station, with the Aquafina in my hand, I couldn’t believe when I heard the guy behind me mumble to his buddy, “I bet that jacket would look better if he were wearing some Zubaz.” I froze for a second. Did I really hear that correctly? Oh no he didn’t say that?!? I put my right toe behind my left heel, and slowly spun myself around. Calmly, I replied, “My friend Bobby Brown is outside, and he isn’t gonna like that kind of talk.” Stunned for a second, the wise guy and his buddy both got a little wide eyed, and once the comment registered, started laughing. I simply repeated my spin move, and quietly started signing, “Everybody’s talkin’ all this stuff about me, why don’t they just let me live?”
I finished my ride that day, and lovingly returned my Guess jacket to the closet. It patiently waits for the next 80 degree riding day. When that day comes, once again I will reach for my comfy jacket, because … it’s my prerogative.