The hottest day of winter they said. A temperature peak of 23 degrees they said. Bloody hell. That's justgreat.


The train ride home. A stinking hot carriage. I decided to experiment with the Selk Bag to see how far I could zip it up. Turns out it went all the way to the base of my chin. Cool.

The heat became unbearable. The Selk Bag itself, combined with the heat of all the other passengers on the train, had ratcheted my internal body temperature sky-high. No problem, I thought, I'll just unzip it a bit, let some air in.


The zip was stuck.

Still no problem, I thought. Probably just a little bit of material trapped in the device. I give it another strong tug.


Nope. The zip was really stuck.

I pull it up again. Maybe if I pull the zip up, I'll be able to pull it back down more easily. Now the zip is up over my chin and it still won't come back down.


Another thing worth knowing about me: I'm mildly claustrophobic. The thought of being in tight enclosed spaces creates an anxiety in me that starts in my sternum and quickly spreads through every bone in my body.

Short sharp breaths. I clench my teeth. A slow panic begins penetrating my muscles and spine. I can't get out of here. I need to get out of here. I need to get this fucking thing off me right now or I'm going to rip it off with my bare hands.


I am in a public place. I am surrounded by people. I am about 60 single seconds from what I assume will be a full-blown panic attack. I will hyperventilate and scream in this little prison I've built for myself. What the fuck do I do? What the fuck do I do? Help me. Somebody fucking help me!

I try to bring it under control.

Breathe, I tell myself. Just breathe. In through my nose to the base of my belly. Exhale. With every breath I imagine myself inhaling light and breathing out the darkness of my body tension. The anxiety slowly evaporates. I take a closer look at the zip. There's a thick, unwieldy piece of fabric caught in there. After some fiddling I tear it out.


I pull the zip down. I close my eyes and slump in my chair. I breathe.

My favourite part was the reactions, when they eventually came.

The curious office worker at the pedestrian crossing: "I didn't realise it was that cold". The stranger at the food court who demanded a photograph (and my contact details for some reason).


This Facebook comment from my mum: "Mark you come from Scotland for goodness sake. A Sydney winter should feel like a spring day, toughen up luv mum x"


My friend Tristan who photoshopped me as the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. A lifelong dream fulfilled.

The entire day: confusion. With every tweet and post: "what the hell are you doing?" "I don't understand".


But I didn't explain. As I mentioned above: there was no elevator pitch. Why I was walking around the city of Sydney, going about my everyday life whilst wearing a ridiculous bloody sleeping bag instead of clothes? The answer to that question wouldn't fit in a tweet. This had become a performance. A pure performance. Absurdity and confusion had become the end goal.

Only once did I feel the sharp pang of embarrassment. Only once did I hesitate for a second, questioning the walking circus act I had become. Only one moment was truly difficult.


The daycare centre. My son. I had to pick him up. I had to commit fully to this act of absurdity. I had to walk up to the building. I had to walk past the other parents, make polite conversation. I had to walk up to the teachers who look after child. I had to say, "I'm here to pick up Quinn". I had to do it all whilst wearing this ridiculous outfit.

It was tough. It was really tough. Condescending smiles from the other parents. Confusion as they subtly adjusted their bodies in response. I laughed internally at the children as their eyes lit up, but the parents were different. The movement to defense was instantaneous but completely understandable. Who is this man? What is he doing here? Is he a danger to my child?


How could I explain? How could I possibly explain?

I quickly picked up my son, walked out of the front door and headed home.


It spoke to the heart of what I wanted to achieve.

I play video games. We all do. But that's just one facet of my identity and that applies to everyone who plays. We work, we study, we exercise. We are husbands, wives, sons, daughters. We are fathers. I am a father. The idea that I could eat, sleep, shit and live in this little prison is patently absurd and the manner in which I sheepishly picked up my own son from daycare is a reflection of that fact.


Now I'm perfectly aware that Selk Bag doesn't expect people to go to work wearing their products. They sure as hell don't expect you to pick up your child from daycare donning an aqua-marine coloured Selk Bag Lite.

But it's what they expect you to do while wearing their product that bugs me. Slumped on your couch, alone. Surrounded by take-out boxes, empty bags of Doritos, fingers covered in cheese dust. Too lazy to pick yourself up and cart yourself to bed. Fuck that noise. I am not a stereotype.


On the walk back home from daycare, I am accosted by one last human being.

I'm standing at a pedestrian crossing, my son in his buggy. The sun has almost set and in the low visibility a gangly looking stranger makes eye contact. He looks rough as guts. He spots what I'm wearing and he laughs.


"You're even worse dressed than me," he shouts, a little too loudly for my liking. Other pedestrians slowly back away.

The man has booze on his breath. He has the pallid skin and smell of an addict. He talks to me and he won't stop talking. He gets uncomfortably close and I'm thinking of the best way to disengage from this conversation as quick as humanly possible.


The green man flashes. Thank Christ. He belts off at a pace and I deliberately move slowly. I sense danger. I want to keep my distance if possible.

But then, ahead. An old homeless man. Seemingly unconscious, spread across the sidewalk with a body that appears to be twitching. The other pedestrians cut a circle around him, completely ignoring the bearded figure in the darkness. They power past and he is completely invisible.


Only one person stops. The man with the booze on his breath. The pallid, assumed drug addict. He hunches over the man's body. He appears to say something. The homeless man grunts back. He is okay.

I am stunned. I take a long, hard look at myself. I had just spent the last 12 hours in a human shaped sleeping bag trying to prove some bizarre point about surface level judgements, and here I was engaging in the same practice. The hypocrisy of it. Of all the people, he was the one to offer his help. He was the good samaritan who offered kindness while others refused.


I accelerate, I speed up. I catch up with to the man with the booze on his breath.

"Is he going to be okay?" I ask. I wasn't prepared for what came next.

"Who gives a shit," he replies. "I was just asking if he had a spare ciggy.

"If he wants to jab that poison into his veins then fuck 'im."

This world we live in man. This fucking world.

This post originally appeared on Kotaku Australia, where Mark Serrels is the Editor. You can follow him on Twitter if you're into that sort of thing.