Dan Cederholm is a staunch advocate for the breast pocket. I rarely use mine, if I have one (and if I do, it’s usually as a convenient place to put cutlery). But another pocket holds its place in my heart, even if it does always force me into difficult decisions.
It’s the left-hand pocket in a pair of trousers.
Trousers have always had two pockets in them, minimum. (At least, all the ones I’e ever worn have, and one of my favourite pairs had six on it). These two pockets are mounted on the front, one on the left, one on the right. For me, the purpose of the right-hand pocket has remained constant, but the left has changed its role over time – and always been invaluable.
To begin with, only the right pocket was filled, and I put my wallet and my keys in it. Nothing in the left pocket permanent – its duty changed with time.
When I was 13, I got glasses. I didn’t wear them all the time, so my left pocket became home to my glasses case. As I got older, I tended to wear them more and more, and they saw the inside of the case less and less.
When I was 18, I got my first mobile phone. That instinctively went in the left pocket. That was the final nail for the glasses case. I had just got new glasses I liked wearing far more than the old ones anyway, so I resigned myself to wearing them full-time, and kept the phone in my pocket. (The fact I no longer carry a glasses case explains why, if you know me, I have a habit of placing them upside down on the table in front of me once I’m seated).
I could check I had everything with three short taps – wallet in right pocket, phone in left, keys in back pocket. It’s a bit harder now: my phone is so small I sometimes can’t feel it, and I put my keys in the right pocket too ever since they started wearing holes in the back of my trousers.
Now, I sometimes put my iPod in the left pocket, running the headphones up under my shirt or jumper. There’s not quite room for both it and a phone, so I have to put the phone somewhere else – and somewhere I’ll be able to get at it quickly. I don’t always wear a jacket. So where should it go? I am now, irrevocably, confused.
I cannot help but pine for a simpler time, when I didn’t need to be contactable, didn’t want to drown out the drone of the commute, and did not need to carry my own money with me.
I think I should be a hermit. Either that, or buy more jackets. They are, after all, just pockets with sleeves.