Bali Shirt

Today I wore my Bali shirt for the first time. Sensing a hot day amongst this tough to negotiate Australian weather I thought it was the perfect opportunity and the timing seemed right.

Apart from having a bird shit on the shirt just five minutes after leaving the house, I also felt like a dick. But that’s expected. When I wore a flanno for the first time, I felt like a dick. When I wore a flanno that wasn’t just shades of the greyscale for the first time, I felt like a dick. When I wore my assymetrical zipper hoodie for the first time, I felt like a dick. Whenever I wear shoes that aren’t 100% black, I feel like a dick.

In my new Bali shirt I went to university to hand in an essay. While I was in the area, I decided it would be a good idea to walk to Kingsford to stock up on tempe for the Easter break. Passing my way through the aural environment of Malaysian accents and Bahasa Indonesia, holding onto a bag of tempe and a copy of Buletin, I felt like a dick. More of a dick.

Walking through Kingsford in a Bali shirt, holding tempe and a Buletin, is a bit like going to a punk gig and wearing a black hoodie and a band shirt. That carefully crafted equilibrium, the culturally ambiguous identity, is shattered and a caricature emerges. And I feel like a dick.

I walk on through Kingsford and pass an Asian man wearing southern cross board shorts and a southern cross t-shirt. For a moment I feel comfortable, maybe still like a dick, but at least a comfortable dick.

I board a bus and sit down. I put the tempe in my bag, rest the Buletin on my knees and pull out a book about Indonesian fishermen in the Timor and Arafura Seas. And I feel a little bit like a cartoon character.

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