Sunday, August 16, 2009

Let's get some shoes

Eric bought new shoes today. I love shoes. I guess I really am a girl.

(Eric got some fancy Nikes on megasale at Kohl's. Apparently they can even communicate with his iPhone. That's a little scary. And what are they saying? "Slow down! Wait for your wife!" "No, move faster – she's PMSing!" I don't know. I don't want shoes calculating my steps and calories burned and likely mapping where I've been and sending it to my insurance company so they can deny my claims for being a lard-ass, or worse, to the government for being a liberal. Wait, that's OK again. For now. Babbling – shutting up.)

When I was little, before I was in school, I had a pair of hiking boots. You know the ones that everybody wore in the '70s? The suede, round-toed clodhoppers with black, very marking soles, heavy as a broken heart. Loved 'em. My brother Doug had a pair just like them. Of course. Anything that Doug had I had to have, too. He was Jesus. And he had a Jeep that he apparently thought could walk on water because he was always getting it stuck in the muddy bottoms of a mucky river.

I had some other boots, too, when I was even younger. Rain boots. Someone took a picture of me wearing nothing but my boots. And when my Kelsey was little, I took a picture of her wearing nothing but her boots. I thought it would be cute to put the two photos next to each other – like mother, like daughter. The psycho at Walgreen's who developed the film called the police, fearing my little naked 2-year-old might be the victim of some variety of sexual abuse. How you can look at a picture of a child, scarcely past a baby, and even have sexual thoughts cross your mind is beyond me. I hope the police investigated the lunatic.

It's funny how many of my shoes I remember. I had an ugly blue pair of knock off All-Stars in kindergarten. My first-grade shoes were remarkably similar. My mother told me to write my name on them, so I took a magic marker and wrote absolutely everywhere. I was perfectly content, but she had a fit about me ruining them and she should have known better than to give a magic marker to a child (yes, she should have) and I'd have to wear them anyway. Well, then I was ashamed of them, embarrassed, and I absolutely did not wear them. She had bought me another pair a couple sizes up, and I wouldn't wear those either when I finally grew into them, even though I hadn't marred them with even one black dot.

Many of my shoes didn't fit well. My mom wanted me to get a lot of wear out of my shoes so she didn't have to keep buying them. So, I got them too big and wore them until they were way too small. When my toe pushed out the end of one particular pair I was quite fond of, overtaking the sole, my dad declared my feet had been damaged because of my ill-fitting footwear. I think he might have been right, actually. My big toes point the wrong way, as though I've been wearing high heels since birth, and I certainly haven't. He was always in my corner after that, getting me comfortable shoes I liked, even if they cost more than $4.99.

I wasn't at all brand conscious until about 5th grade when Nike waffles started appearing on the feet of my friends. Even though I thought they were weird and ugly, they were making quite a splash, and I didn't want to be left out. I fondled and sniffed a pair of blue ones with a daring yellow swoosh at Athlete's Foot one day at the mall. How I pined for them. Sometime in middle school I talked my mother into getting me a pair of Nikes, but not the nice blue and yellow waffles, just a pair of light blue ones with a plain sole and a white swoosh. Very subdued, and much cheaper. But it was still a hard-earned accomplishment. They weren't really any more comfortable and they didn't wear any better, and that disappointed me a bit. I didn't insist on name-brand shoes ever after, but my mom still didn't like spending more than $8 on my feet. Unless the shoes were leather. Bring on the GASS. Ugh. I had to wear those big clunkers forever.

These days, well, I'm not exactly sexy in my selections, but my feet feel good, crooked toes and all. And I'm willing to drop decent money on a pair of running shoes, but you'll never find me at a boutique shelling out for couture. (Unless I drop about 30 pounds and decide to get some thigh-high black leather boots. I'll definitely blog about that and include pictures. Please don't call Walgreen's or the police.) I do have a pretty cool collection of Chuck Taylors, though. My latest: light blue oxfords with fuzzy clouds and farm animals and little silver lightning strikes.

Eventually I'll have a photo of my sweet Chucks. Kelsey took my picture, but it's been sitting on her camera, and now I can't find it. And I wrote this so long ago, that the photos I popped in there from around the web (with full credit and links, of course) have gone the way of ether.


MJ Krech said...

I absolutely LOVE this piece! You put it all out there while talking about shoes. And you tie up all the loose ends and make me really care about the little girl with the skinflint shoe-momma. I had the exact opposite kinda shoe-momma as Eric has probably told you. We had to wear shoes with "good arches" that were usually ugly as sin. I spent my childhood pining after red buckle shoes--pretty red Mary Janes. Laura and I got them one year but they tore our Naugahyde couch to bits so it was back to ugly saddle shoes again the next year. I'll have to ask Ben and Sarah what kinda shoe-momma I was. I suspect I was somewhere in the middle as I'd bet you are, too.

Lola said...

I really enjoyed reading this. But Athlete's Foot? Is that really the name of a retail outlet???

Amy said...

Lola, it really is. Well, used to be. If they still exist, they have left my corner of the planet.

Marcia, Eric has gone on at length about his ugly, black, orthopedic shoes that he had to wear to make his arch bigger since his feet were so flattish. Eew. You know what, though? I always loved saddle shoes. But I've always been living in the past.