Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

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Winter shorn

Got my haircut again since I’m trying to make going a more regular thing. The woman asked me how much I wanted to cut off and I indicated about five inches. (I’ll be damned if I’m ever going to adopt the metric system). “So much?” she asked. She didn’t think it was a good idea. “Yeah,” I told her. “That much.”

We went back and forth a little bit, which I didn’t particularly care for and she asked me *why* I wanted to cut so much off. “It’s winter and what with hats and scarves, it’s just much easier to have shorter hair.” She looked at my reflection, narrowed her eyes a bit and nodded. “That’s true. Ok.” Apparently, I needed to convince her before she’d get to work.

Buff logoAs I said “scarves” to her, I had a word epiphany. The Spanish for scarf is bufanda, a pretty great word on its own. There’s a popular brand of Spanish-made head/neckwear called Buff® (you may know them as the official bandanas of CBS’s SURVIVOR). I’ve always made fun of Buffs because the company pronounces its name /bo͞of/ with a long vowel sound like “boot” despite being spelled like a word which already exists /bəf/.

Teen Wolf Boof

If you know why this pic is here, we can discuss being friends, but I won’t make any promises.

But in the chair at the hair place, I realized that those silly Spaniards took the first syllable from “scarf” and added a letter to the end, just for the hell of it. Again, if someone would just run these ideas by me first, I’d be able to help them out, but alas, they must continue to live like ignoramuses. [Ed. Reading their website proves me right. I love being right!]

Wear Something

Buffs® are actually awesome. I have a ton. I wear them while doing yoga to keep the hair out of my face, while bike riding to keep the sweat out of my face and when the temperature drops a little to keep the cold off my face neck. There are a bunch of kinds; cotton, wool, fleece-lined, knit, double-layered, reflective, UV. I don’t know you, but I am sure there is a Buff for you. You should get one. Or five. There are a million ways to wear them. Let the Basque sheep show you how.



Things I Did While I Didn’t Have Internet

→ Tried to remember the Greek alphabet. I got 15 out of 24 letters which is pretty good, especially considering that I never actually studied Greek. (It ain’t Latin.) Easily ten of them came to me by thinking of fraternities and sororities in teen comedies. Despite their poor academic standing, those Deltas taught me something after all!

→ Got a haircut. ‘Cause, you know, another year had gone by. (I think I need to schedule them in my calendar, ’cause I clearly need reminding.)

→ Started re-reading the A Song Of Ice And Fire series, (from which HBO’s GAME OF THRONES is adapted). I’ve gotten through 3949 of 4931 pages. There are so many hidden clues to stuff and connections to be made once you know where the story’s going. It’s even better than the first time!

→ Watched all the special features and audio commentaries on the first two seasons of GAME OF THRONES.

→ Re-watched THE SOCIAL NETWORK and then watched all the special features on the DVD (but not the two audio tracks because I can only take so much). David Fincher is one of my favorite directors.

→ LESSON: Physical media is still the best. I likely would have gone insane without actual things to keep me busy.

le guide vélo→ Pulled my bike out of deep storage and tuned it up following the advice in an awesome book I have, Le guide d’entretien de mon vélo by Peter Drinkell. I now know more words for bike parts in French than in English.

→ Got off my ass and actually rode the damn thing. It was awesome. The weather’s been ideal for biking, in the high 60s, low 70s.

→ Had my first dépannage and was able to fix it on the fly ’cause I’d read my book! Now I know to pull back on the galets by the rear cassette to put the chaîne back on the plateau! Tour de France, here I come!

→ [Cassette is the gears which explains where cassette tapes got their name. BOOM! Learning!]

→ Caught up on a podcast backlog of several months, clearing my external iTunes drive of weeks’ worth of audio. Of course, I’ll have over a month of episodes to listen to as soon as I’ve downloaded all the ones I missed, so this is kind of a wash.

→ Put all my summer shoes away in their original boxes and put those boxes in one big box labeled SHOES from which I pulled my fall shoes. There are few things I love more than fitting smaller boxes into bigger boxes, Tetris-style.

→ And, of course, I missed all you Internet people. Since I had visitors fairly constantly from July through the time my Internet connection crapped out, I’ll have to read what you’ve all been up to. I think I need a vacation just to get caught up on everything again!


Two bits!

My most recent haircut was in August. Prior to that it was September 2011, which is a really long time to go between coifs. One of the dozen or so reasons I hadn’t been is that I acutely dislike the chit-chat one is apparently supposed to engage in while getting one’s locks chopped.

I checked out my local options and chose a place based on its proximity to my apartment and to the perceived indoor noise level. (I like a high one so that I can avoid talking without being rude.) I told the woman I just wanted a trim (une coupe d’entretien : a maintenance cut), no blow dry or styling (weirdly called un brushing) since I shower again within ten minutes of getting a cut. (I can’t stand the feeling of tiny hairs down my back.)

After a few preliminary questions, the woman realized I wasn’t in the mood and stopped talking. Halfway into the cut, she said, “Did you say something?” I told her that I hadn’t spoken but that maybe it was the loud conversations happening around us, the radio or the traffic that she’d heard. She shrugged. “You’re not from around here, are you? Your accent is kind of… southern. Where are you from?”

I chuckled a little bit and thought, “Success! I’m being taken for an French person!” but I said, “I’m kind of from the south, Spain is south of here, so yes.”

“Oh,” replied la coiffeuse. “I’m deaf in one ear so that may be part of it.”

Ego boost successfully squashed. Of course, now that I know where there’s a half-deaf hair dresser, I won’t need to wait so long between cuts.

Learn something (totally worthless)

“Shave and a Haircut” is a little call-and-response musical ditty usually used for comedic effect. The response is “two bits!” hence the title of this post. The routine is a kind of vaudeville throw back that I probably picked up while watching Looney Tunes cartoons. It was also prominently featured in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, if you’re old enough to remember it.

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Columbo + pigeons = comedy

Looking over one of the notebooks in which I jot down funny things, I was reminded of what happened when I got my haircut in September. As I was waiting my turn, I was flipping through that week’s issue of Le Figaro Magazine which was all about New York, marking as it was, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Part of the issue was dedicated to a typical day-in-the-life feature which had a lot of people and places I recognized, but then there was this heading which made me laugh so hard that I started coughing.

14h15 George Martin, colombophile et misanthrope à Brooklyn

It seemed totally logical that someone who loved watching Peter Falk as Columbo would be a misanthrope. I mean, the guy investigated murders and was always being lied to and there was clearly something not right about his home life. Plus, misanthropes congregate in Brooklyn since so many of them are hipsters and I was just cracking myself up imagining all kinds of different scenarios like a TV show starring the Beatles-producing George Martin solving mysteries in Brooklyn which I would watch the hell out of.

Anyway, when I got home, I looked up colombophile and saw that it means “pigeon fancier” which made a lot of sense since the article was about this guy who fed and trained pigeons from the roof of his building in Brooklyn. Sometimes actually understanding what the hell is going on is way less amusing.