the jumper dilemma

Filed under: about me

Our house is for sale, so I’m doing some decluttering. Over the past few weeks I’ve taken armloads of clothes, toys, books, DVDs, small furniture items, etc to the local charity shop. I walk by the shop every day, and sometimes I’m nicely surprised to see my former dress or top or whatever in their very attractive window displays. Not nicely surprised enough to want to buy it back again or anything, but I feel a little self-congratulatory ping: Well, at least I wasn’t a fool to buy that in the first place, because someone else thinks it’s nice enough to sell.

Yesterday, on my way to the post office, I brought a pine bedside table to the charity shop, and as I usually do, I had a little look around just to make sure that nobody else had got rid of a pair of the perfect shoes. The shop is arranged by colour. Imagine my shock when I saw, on the green rack, my green comfy jumper.

I knew it was my jumper because it was from Old Navy. They don’t have Old Navy in the UK. I bought it three Christmases ago in Boston, in the sale, because it looked like a perfect comfy jumper to wear around the house while I was writing. It had a hood and a v-neck and though I usually wear size small, I bought it in medium because I wanted it to be loose.

I like this jumper. I wear it quite often. I did not remember donating it to the charity shop.

I looked at the tag. They were charging £3.49. Which is relatively expensive for a jumper in this particular charity shop, and which reflected the fact that this is quite a nice jumper which I should never have given away because I like it.

This immediately led me to a dilemma. Should I go tell the nice ladies who run the shop that this was my jumper and I never meant to give it away and I’d given them lots of other things, like that lovely bright orange coat that they used to such good effect in their display, so could I please have the jumper back please? That seemed a little mean; this was a charity, after all, and it was my mistake.

So should I buy it back? This was the obvious solution, but it was sort of annoying to pay £3.49 for my own jumper. Then again, it was a just and fair fine for making a stupid mistake, and it was for charity.

Or should I just leave it? After all, I hadn’t noticed it was missing. Maybe it was time for me to let that green jumper go, to try a life without the green jumper—a life in which, perhaps, I made fashion choices for style rather than for comfort, or alternatively in which I just wore the brown jumper I bought in the Gap sale instead.

In the end, I only had enough money for the post office anyway, so I had to leave the jumper behind. I left it in the laps of the gods. I thought, Next time I walk by with money in my pocket, I’ll go in to buy the jumper, and if it’s gone, then I wasn’t meant to have it any more.

That was yesterday afternoon.

Today, I was putting some things away in the closet where I keep my clothes, in my house. And there was my green jumper, underneath two other jumpers. I pulled it out and checked.

Old Navy. Medium. With a v-neck and a hood.

What has happened?

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  1. Hmm. (a) you sleepwalked, broke in, brought it home
    (b) you were so busy pondering the moral dilemma that you bought it absent-mindedly and THAT’s why you had no money on you.
    (c) you bought the second when you were in the US on hols and thought, “Damn, I don’t have my comfy jumper, I’ll buy one to keep here. Then you brought it home.”

    • You must be a novelist.

      a) Possible.
      b) I went to the post office afterwards to post a package to YOU. And you got it. Ergo, I did not spend the money.
      c) Old Navy doesn’t keep stock for three years!

      So I’m leaning towards (a). But open to other explanations. Susan Chadwick thinks it has something to do with Higgs Boson. Which I don’t understand, but it sounds good.

      • LOL I didn’t see that twist coming. I like Jan’s option (a) for it too. Some people drive cars in their sleep. You might want to get yourself checked out 😉

  2. When things like this happen to me, I always like to imagine my future self invented a time machine, traveled to the past, and saved the green jumper (or whatever).

    Which, yes, would involve the Higgs boson particle. Because, you know, gotta power that time machine.

    • Or possibly it would involve a time-travelling phone booth and Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Theodore “Ted” Logan. Excellent!

  3. I vote that a Julie Cohen doppleganger has moved into the neighbourhood and she’s doing things you never would…

    • Oh no! What if I run into her and I don’t like her?

  4. You’ve got a twin sister but neither of you is aware of the other’s existence. Oh Yeah! It happens. And being twins of course, you’re inclined to like the same things and to follow the same life path. So now you know, you’ve got a twin sister living in Reading, who used to wear the same green jumper with hood and who is now wearing this lovely dress of yours that was in the shop window. That’s all, I let you discuss the rest with your parents.

    • Hey, somebody should totally write a twin book, where one twin puts on another twin’s clothing and everyone thinks she is the first twin…

      Oh, wait.

  5. Julie, you MUST get back to the charity shop to see if the jumper is still there! Only then will we be able to ponder what we’re dealing with here.

  6. What Kat said! And you must WEAR the green jumper, just to make sure it hasn’t magically teleported from your wardrobe to the charity shop just to mess with your head.

    • I will go to the charity shop and take a photograph. But first I will mark my own jumper’s label with a black dot so that I know it is mine. That will ensure they’re not in fact the same jumper…unless they are the same jumper IN DIFFERENT TIMES.

      In which case, that is a perfect excuse for me to get a Time Lord onto the case.

  7. No, no. Whatever you do, don’t bring the two jumpers together. Jumper and anti-jumper could annihilate each other and the world could end.
    If you’re getting a Time Lord, can I come with you?

    • Sure, just as long as you take Matt Smith.

  8. You are amazing, Julie. Only you could turn a trip to a charity shop and a jumper into at least three amazing plot scenarios. I expect to see both jumper and charity shop in a book v. soon.

    • What would the conflict be, though, in a time-travelling jumper book?

  9. Alternate reality. Like in the film, Sliding Doors.

    So are you actually in the house you’re trying to sell? Has it sold already in the other reality?

    Or in the other Julie’s house? Whilst you’re there…could you check if mermaids exist in that reality? Thanks ever so much.

    • Well, when I looked carefully at the other jumper, it had fine fishy scales in it and smelt slightly of seaweed. Does that help?

  10. Maybe you could turn the jumper into a twin-set, Julie? Does that sound familiar?

  11. The other jumper clearly belonged to a mermaid!

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