I think I’m at risk of starting to look like a homeless person.
You see, my eras are defined sartorially. I buy clothes, I wear them ’til they break, I keep wearing them until the situation becomes untenable, I fix the clothes, I wear them ’til they’re unfixable, and then I reluctantly toss them and buy more clothes.
My boots, my coats, my trousers, my jumpers, my bags; they’re all wearing out. By which I mean they are all already broken, but haven’t fallen off me yet. I was out walking earlier, and realised the cuff of my winter coat has worn away to the extent that it is revealing its white innards. It has holes everywhere else too, inside and out, but the exposed stuffing seemed to be The Wake-up Call. If I do an honest inventory, a lot of items are going to find themselves in the bin.
I do have nice clothes, too. The ones I don’t wear as much. The fancy ones. But come to think of it, some of those are looking weathered.
I guess I get attached. I get attached to the person I am in these garments. Attached to their particular utility. To the history I have shared with them. To the fabric that will never precisely exist again.
I’ve always been like this – the more dilapidated the clothing, the more I love it. It used to be an aesthetic choice, and sometimes it still is. But if I could look from the outside, I think I’d see it differently.
So I guess its time for a new era.
When I sold my old Golf to a breaker for fifty quid, we met at a junction in the middle of nowhere, and he drove it away illegally through the narrow Welsh backroads. It all felt terribly sudden.
I got a message half an hour later saying ‘I have no idea why but I absolutely love driving this car’. That car had a lot of fucking problems, and it was also my favourite place to be, so my heart soared at seeing him share this. My Golf was instilled with hours of carefree meandering over winding mountain roads, windows down, singing along to Jason Mraz. It was nights parked up in the Brecon Beacons, backseats down, halfway home from a gig in Cardiff. It was the illusion of power and competence I felt when changing gears, accelerating out of a bend, or reversing a whole mile down a country lane. And it was also the nagging worry of everything wrong with it that I couldn’t afford to fix. And all the really stupid low-speed collisions with inanimate objects. And the bad judgement calls that got me stuck in ditches for no good reason whatsoever.
It was an extension of me. It was tied to my identity. And it was also unfortunately tied to my self-worth, which was why I ended up selling it to a breaker for fifty quid. I have no doubt that, despite being such a joy to drive, my old Golf still got ripped apart. It could have had a better ending than that. The breaker himself admitted he was surprised I accepted his offer. But I couldn’t see it at the time. So instead of advocating for it, I folded.
There are too many times in my life, looking back, that I folded. Because I couldn’t see the value of what I brought to the table.