As a rule, I always try to be the last one to board planes. I fully realize this probably fairly rude to whoever I end up seated beside as they stare towards the front hoping against hope that they'll be lucky enough to score an empty seat beside them. Not only do I saunter in at that the last second to crush that hope, I also happen to be six and a half feet tall and depending on which flight of the day I'm on, might have a tendency to have trouble sitting still.
Anyway, on Wednesday I was the last person to board from LAX to Honolulu. I was in the exit row on the aisle and seated directly beside me was a middle-aged Hawaiian woman. Very nice, slept most of the trip. Perfect seat companion.
Seated next to her, on the window? An entity as fabled as Bigfoot or a unicorn, and just as entertaining to see in person. The Aging Rocker.
Now, some of you may be wondering what makes someone so readily identifiable as an aging rocker. The fact is, their look says it all. There is no doubt, no second guessing. This particular gentleman started the look with (to his credit) thick hair that was dyed midnight black. It looked like it had been styled by a Veg-O-Matic, with enough sculpting paste and gel to tame a musk ox's fur. Seriously.
Below that his eyes were lined with heavy black eyeliner and his nails her painted black. He had on thick black leather bracelets and a t-shirt from a band I'd never heard off. He also had black jeans with no less than twenty fraying gashes per leg and completed the ensemble with a pair of black Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars.
Seriously, this guy looked like the mutant offspring of one of the goths that used to hang out in the Harvard Square subway stop and Captain Jack Sparrow.
Beyond that, his voice and syntax seemed to be directly lifted from Keanu Reeve's infamous Johnny Utah in Point Break. A mutant hybrid of surfer speak and 80's glam band that included “dude”, “brah”, “rad”, and “gnarly” no less than a dozen in the extremely limited conversation heard from him over the course of the flight.
Adding one last little bit of panache to the look? He was reading Keith Richards memoire. For serious. You can't make this stuff up.
Perhaps the most jarring thing of all though? Judging by the lines on his face and the loose skin on his neck/forearms, I would have to place him somewhere between 48 and 55. That likely makes him older than my parents. Sporting a look that is equally parts Bret Michaels and Rock of Ages.
To be honest, as much as I wish I could tell I shook my head in amusement the entire time, I must confess….a small part of me thought “good for you.” It's a bold look for sure. One that if you're going to