Journal Square is a major transportation hub in Jersey City for bus connections and PATH train transfers. Much in the same way New York city’s “Times Square” was named after The New York Times newspaper, “Journal Square” is named after The Jersey Journal newspaper.
The Journal Square area is ripe with cultural monuments and ethnic identifications. India Square is one of my favorite places to visit and eat and drink! I also do my banking in the massive Journal Square complex.
The other day one of my favorite bank tellers, a young and vivacious Asian Indian woman, was obviously distraught. She was outside the bank and was inhaling cigarettes in one breath. She told a fitful story to her fellow female tellers who were also smoking and silently nodding.
They were all covered in a cloud of smoke and fumes and I couldn’t help but slow my pace to find out why everyone was sending out such urgent smoke signals. Together, they all blocked the entrance to the bank. You had to press through them, and their smoke, to gain access to your money.
“My boss said I’m wearing invisible pants!” My favorite teller said with blue ropes of smoke curling from her mouth and back into her nostrils. Her friends nodded but said nothing. I slowed down even more to try to see what “invisible pants” might look like.
I knew all about “vomit pants” because I invented the term, but the idea of “invisible pants” having such an emotional effect on the person wearing them — uh, not wearing them? — was too intriguing to pass up, so I came to a full stop.
I bent down and pretended to tie my shoe. I was covered by their nicotine fog so I didn’t feel I was being too obvious watching and listening.
“She told me to go home and change my pants or not come back from break!” As the smoke cleared, I finally saw them in the flesh… there — Invisible Pants — right there before my eyes — uh, not before my eyes? — in their creamy, soft, paper-thin, skin-toned glory!
“I paid $150 for these pants and I don’t pay that kind of money for something you can’t see!” Her friends blew smoke around her in response.
I understood what her boss meant. Her invisible pants were not work appropriate. They were beyond skin-tight, they were cellulite-tight where every bulge and ripple were in loud, advertised, evidence.
“This is a civil rights issue. We can wear what we want! Am I right?” Her friends said nothing. Her invisible pants were so tight she was not not able to wear underwear and that was obvious to anyone who bothered to look in her direction.
She no longer had “private parts” because every pubic part of her was public and highly defined and squirming for release beneath her invisible pants.
“She’s old and fat and jealous! Can I help it I got the junk in my trunk? I’m right, right?” Her friends said nothing. She looked more like a hooker than a bank teller and I felt for her that her boss had to tell her to go home and wear something that honored her beautiful work ethic instead of announcing her bad taste in clothes.
“I’m not going back in. I’m going home. I’m going to sue. I’m going to teach her a lesson. Right?” Her friends said nothing. I realized her friends were helping her by not answering her. I knew she would soon get the idea that, perhaps, invisible pants were more appropriate for invisible jobs where you don’t handle other people’s money all day.
I was happy there was still a boss in the world who cared about employee appearance and who held a minimum standard for dressing appropriately for an important job. I finished pretend tying my shoe and stood up to enter the bank.
My favorite teller recognized me and nodded as she blew a steady stream of smoke out of the corner of her mouth. I went back to the bank the next day and my favorite teller was there to help me. She was wearing an elegant pair of black velvet pants that honored her sophistication and intelligence.
Sometimes invisible pants can remind us of who we are — and who we are not — and set us back on the path of honoring our true selves and not what we purchase for pretending.