The treks and trails I often tread have had many influences on me over the years. One of the more physical adjustments is my appearance. Nature and the elements are no respecters of fashion and I found my clothes and foot ware becoming worn and tattered. The constant repairs to our homes and cars over the years have also taken their toll.
To begin with I often replaced items when they became stained or torn. The influx of cheap clothing from the far east ensured this was no real financial hardship. But over time and with awareness I began to become uncomfortable with this. As is often the case I decided to give up on "keeping up appearances" and simply repair or put up with what I have, however it did become interesting to see the reactions of people to my shabby nature.
Many of the well dressed salesmen and executives simply ignored me, my apparent lack of wealth and status became a drawn conclusion. Such a conclusion results in the thought that I will be of little use to them. Interestingly the charity workers on the streets also tend to disregard me. Many times the young enthusiastic soul who bounds up exclaiming "hello, can I have a moment?" would pass right by me targeting the younger well dressed and outwardly respectable females. On occasion I would attract hostility, usually from young males who sought the approval of their peers. Barbed comments or insults are sometimes the way of communicating their contempt and desire for attention, luckily my mind is still fairly sharp and a swift and brutal put down as a response often results in a stunned silence. This is never achieved by a well dressed office worker walking by pretending the comment was unheard.
There are those who do take time to speak with me, I find these people are often quieter souls who make more of their opinions based on the first few moments of conversation. For me I find they are often far more rewarding to talk too. The exchange of opinions and ideas is a pleasure and in many ways I find myself dealing with fellow observers, wanderers, nature lovers, artists and craftsfolk.
Appearance and fashion is a language, it reveals a great deal about people. Like all languages, there are depths, deceptions and truths concealed or revealed within the code of human perception and interaction.