[Bernadette Fox is emailing her virtual assistant]
I’d also like a fishing vest, one replete with zippered pockets. Back when I actually enjoyed leaving the house, I sat on a plane next to an environmentalist who spent his life zigzagging the globe. He had on a fishing vest, which contained his passport, money, glasses, and film canisters – yes, film, it was that long ago. The genius part: everything’s in one place, it’s handy, it’s zipped in, plus you can whip it off and plop it down on the X-ray belt. I always said to myself: next time I travel, I’m going to get me one of those. My time has come. You’d better get two...
[later] Oh! The fishing vest’s arrived. Thank you! Already, I’ve tucked away my glasses, car keys, cell phone. I may never take this thing off.
observations: Earlier this week, Maria Semple’s This One is Mine featured – and the wedding dress is much more attractive than the fishing vest, even if this is the better book (it first appeared on the blog last year). It is a very complex story, with a lot of threads, and bursting out with ideas and comments, and judgments on present-day life, and on Seattle. But everything is assigned to a character – you can’t guess where Semple would stand on most of the issues that crop up. It’s an enormously clever, satisfying book.
The fishing vest has an important role to play: it makes sense that the slightly loopy Bernadette wears it, but it is clear that she looks odd in it, and it’s seen as another piece of evidence for her state of mind. And then, on re-reading, you see how important it is at a later point in the book, taking care of something that might otherwise be inexplicable. One thing though – another character says:
Through the mesh pockets, I could see her wallet, cell phone, keys, passport. ‘I can do anything,’ she said with a smile.
--- but most fishing vests do NOT have mesh pockets. When you think about it, a solid pocket makes much more sense when you are around water. But here is one that is a bit mesh-y:
Links on the blog: More on life in Seattle in this book. New directions - the blog generally features high fashion or decorative or historical clothes, but this fishing vest follows on from a recent venture into Gore Tex in the excellent The Rosie Project.