I remember that one East Coast summer when all of my friends started to get their licenses. Driving opened up a whole new Pandora’s Box pertaining to our social lives — we could go anywhere and felt like we could be anything.
A commenter recently referenced The Perks of Being a Wallflower in one of Monday’s posts: “in that moment, I swear we were infinite,” and while the quote may seem cheesy out of the book’s context, it’s hard to deny that feeling when considering the first time you experienced the freedom of driving around with your friends in a car.
“Let’s drive down The Ave,” has to be one of the most common sentences uttered by newly-licensed teens. Each town has The Avenue, and most towns have nothing better to do (in the eyes of a 16 year old) then drive down it. Suburban summers at my dad’s meant driving up and down the same long main street, seeing who you could conveniently bump into and flirting out of rolled-down windows. We’d do drive-bys along our crushes houses; you’ve done this too, right? Your friend drives, you crouch down in the passenger seat, slinking by like a total creep to see if his car is in the driveway. If it’s not — turn that music up loud and get your ass back to The Ave! My life, at this age, revolved around cars.
In New York City, one could argue that the subway is our replacement for the car. It takes us wherever we need to go, and I’m sure there’s some incredulous statistic about how many hours (waking or not) of our lives are spent on it. (Especially should you consider wait-time for the L or Z train.) But in reality, and in the winter, no vehicle — not even a Yellow Cab or crosstown bus — can transport us quite like The Coat.
The Coat cannot be a vehicle, you might counter. It does not have wheels, or the power to fly, and if you sit on a coat it most likely will not levitate or teleport you to Chinatown. But if you consider The Coat in the way a teenager considers her car — that it’s a movable shelter where daily lives are lived, kisses are had, fights are mended — you’ll be able to see the parallel.
Last year I wore the same navy coat almost every day from October until March. One Saturday in particular I took it from brunch, to an impromptu skateboarding session with boards borrowed from strangers, to a daytime roof party a few friends were having despite the cold weather.
At this party I met a guy, we shared a few laughs, and then later, I left to catch the subway and meet a friend in Brooklyn. We had dinner then spent the majority of the night shuffling around, complaining about the cold and trying to figure out what bar to migrate to. But my snooze-fest agenda is irrelevant. What’s important is that all the while, I wore my coat.
In honor of it being unofficial Coat Day at Man Repeller, and because it’s finally cold enough to wear one, click through the slideshow above for pictures upon pictures of glorious, delicious, hot-coffee-weather coats to carry you throughout life when a car just won’t – and can’t – do.