Sorting Myself Out

Some time ago there was an incident involving me which I forgot to write about. It was nothing bad, but it was surreal and most definitely leaning towards humourous. It’s stuck in my mind for some reason, and I remembered it yesterday, giving me a great excuse to write about it when there’s not much else to say…

It was back in Hull Times. Those long dark days and nights slaving away for a degree that was going to change my life (yeah right). 

I have always been a bit fussy over clothes. But then, I guess most people are. Everyone likes to think they have their own personal style. I know what mine is. Jeans/cargo pants, t-shirt (short and long-sleeve), with optional hoody or jumper in the event of cold weather. Brands are mostly out, unless they’re small and mostly obscure. Matalan, Primark and ASDA George are most definitely in. 

It suits me… and I feel comfortable in it. But this one day I had to stop and think. I was wearing a rather old pair of jeans, combined with a rather old t-shirt and a rather old cardigan type thing. The whole lot was probably past its best, but I was a student and knew nothing else. The cardigan in particular had developed a couple of holes and was really starting to look decrepit.

I was walking along a path which was running at a right angle to the street. The path was leading me on to the street. I would be walking along this path for probably no more than 20 seconds, as it led straight from an alleyway which led from my house. This is an important fact as otherwise the following event would have been impossible.

Ahead of me, turning around the corner was a car. The car was on the opposite side of the street, so the passenger window was facing me. Out of that window was a man, looking stony-faced and somewhat, umm, let’s just say touched in the head. I happened to notice him instantly because that’s where I was looking. After his car had turned the corner, he was directly facing me. Worse, he was looking right at me in the eye.

I met his stare for the briefest of moments. I looked away immediately, and at that moment the man shouted, “SORT YOURSELF OUT!”. I looked back at him, to find he was looking at me, and carried on looking at me as he drove into the distance. 

Now, this made me consider. I’d definitely never met him before. And the fact that he was already looking out the window (and continued to after he’d passed me) either meant that he was deliberately looking for a victim or he really was “a bit special”. I had to stop and think for a while though. Was he telling me the truth? Was there something about my external appearance that made him say that?

In fact I couldn’t get it out of my mind. There weren’t many other people in the street at the time, and I don’t think anyone else noticed, but still… it felt like a personal affront to me!

I laughed a little bit, I had to in case anyone was watching. And the way he looked at me, it just seemed like the whole thing was either a wind up or the man had no control over himself.

But I couldn’t stop thinking. Maybe I did look a bit ridiculous that day. But no worse, I thought, than the dudes who wear tracksuits, or t-shirt and shorts even on a winter’s day.

In truth, I’ve never worn the same combination of clothes again. In fact, the jeans have been retired. I’ve let this bizarre incident stick in my mind, even though I laugh about it now. I’m not normally one for paying much attention to what others think about me, but this one incident seems to have stuck…

So perhaps I did take his advice and sort myself out.

Today I’m wearing a jumper I’ve had for four years that’s at least a size too big on me. 

Forget that. I didn’t.

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