Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


Mixed Bag

Things don't belong anywhere else.

July 15, 2003

So I bought this shirt at Zara in Athens. Or was it the Zara in Barcelona? As Dublin didn't have one, we visited Zara stores in every major European city we made it to over the past two years. It's a fitted, striped, shirt with tight sleeves and a big collar. I'm no fashion guru, but it seems to playfully harken back to the seventies.

I've got a certain geeky/artiste/preppy sartorial combination which is, if nothing else, conventional. Aside from this shirt, my most exciting garment is a gas attendant's shirt with snaps that reads 'Janice' on the name tag. I wear that, and savour the irony (Janice must have been a big girl).

But this shirt is too cool for me. I put it on occasionally, walk around the apartment, and sulkingly take it off. This shirt knows about cars and wine, it has a timeshare at Whistler and a girlfriend with implants. Me, I just feel like a chotch.

Lacking a digital camera, I've scanned my shirt. Note the two buttons at the collar. That alone makes it too cool for me.

10:31:10 PM        Mixed Bag

My American-but-lives-in-Ireland-after-several-years-in-Italy friend James sends me this universal truth from CNN: Italians are lousy drivers.

According to the poll by vehicle lease company LeasePlan, 22 percent of European drivers said Italians were the worst menace on the roads. The French came in a distant second, picked by 16 percent.

Apparently while much of continental Europe relies on verbal abuse while the driving, the UK leads Europe in rude hand signals. That's typically English, I'd say. They wouldn't want to roll down their window for fear of actually speaking with someone. In truth, given their rich gestural history, it's surprisingly that the Italians don't lead in this category as well.

Which reminds me of a hand gesture something I learned in Ireland. I was vaguely familiar with it from Irish and British films, but you never see it in North America. It's the two-finger salute, a sort of peace sign, except with the back of your hand facing the target. It's the British Isles equivalent of flipping the bird. British and Irish readers, is there a common term for this gesture?

I believe this is all-American Steve McQueen, but he's got the gesture correct:

There's an insightful history the gesture here.

10:11:28 AM        Mixed Bag Politics