I'm sitting at my normal coffee hut, discussing business with my homie & creative cohort, E. of Downs Design, for a joint meeting later that hour on a project we're collaborating on. Sitting a few tables to my right is a young man, in head-to-toe brown khaki, quietly chilling and checking his phone. He looks up and darts out toward the beautiful, familiar, all-to-unique silhouette of a UPS truck that has just pulled up. It is holiday time so it's not unusual to see these trucks helmed by two service-people instead of the usual one. But as he's walking out, E. notices something, "Damn… homie is workin' fresh in his 'J's'." Knowing my 'sneakerhead' status, I've turned all of my friends into quasi-aficionados—especially when they are out-and-about with me.
I turn to check his footwear, and sure enough I run out and ask him if I can take a pic of his kicks? He was a little put off at first, rightfully so as it was a strange and random request. But then he looked at my feet, and he immediately understood my appreciation. I told him, straight up; it was nice to see a young man, on his grind—and UPS is indeed a grind—still with a mindset of looking good and feeling right while out working a manual labor job. It's not lost on me that often our own self-esteem is squarely on us. This young man, about college age, had taken the steps to augment his standardized "brown" digs—distinguished, but devoid of any style—with a pair of clean, well-maintained Jordans, which happen to be the "wing-tipped", Brooks Brothers equivalent of street-style status. It's a small thing, a very small thing, that was immeasurable in its value to him. Making that known was important to me. It was obviously important to him as well, because as he hopped the truck, he looks back at me and says, "… and these are the old ones. That's why I'm working in them."
I see you young cat. Keep those deliveries fresh.