I have been pondering shoes. I got into a conversation with someone a little while ago about photographing shoes instead of faces. Now I keep seeing shoes.
My feet are familiar with four sets.
- Sneakers. Black with pink Nike check. They impressed me on my sister-in-law’s feet a few years ago. She said it was okay to buy the same pair.
- Black shoes. I wear these anytime it is cold and can’t wear sneakers. They have a sturdy rubber sole and could have been worn by my grandmother, ergo, their style is timeless.
- Brown fancy sandals (by fancy I mean not a birkentock): 1/4 flat sole. Three strands of leather. Worn when it is too hot for the black shoes
- Rubber boots (also black). The gold standard of farm footwear.
I checked and found the following buried in my closet. Writing about them may push their expiry date.
- Brown loafers (Too big. Fall off if I don’t walk carefully.)
- Blue sneakers (Too big. Kept for sentimental reasons)
- High tops (Too small. Kept because I don’t like the idea of not owning good basketball shoes.)
- Old black shoes (recently revived by shoe polish they strongly resemble current black shoes.)
- Ugliest pair of brown sandals ever (worn only when I can think of no other ways to punish myself.)
- Blue heavy duty sandals (quite ripped and discolored. worn if there is water within a mile and I can pretend they are just my water shoes)
I probably don’t have to spell out the fact that my life has not involved a great deal of interest in shoes. Now that I am noticing them, shoes everywhere are catching me off guard.
Take B’s shoes, for instance. Each pair I have noticed are woefully unprepared for fight or flight and surprisingly not the least bit concerned about it. They look smart – as in intelligent. Can a shoe do this or am I projecting? I would not describe B as someone who sashays across a room. Her shoes, on the other hand, well, B’s shoes are unapologetically having a good time. My shoes look at each other sideways. Are they supposed to be having fun?
RA would no more wear a shoe devoid of style than one would chop off a toe. It isn’t done. But style, I learned, is not enough. There is a running shoe for actually jogging and a different one entirely for hiking in the park. From this I infer there to be shoes made for church but not for weddings and vice versa. Could there be shoes for dinner dates and movies? Concerts and parties? My black shoes pretend not to be curious.
J’s shoes are stylish but understated. Always sharp and classy, one can imagine them being gracious, even compassionate towards the serviceable shoe. All my shoes appreciate the vote of confidence.
C loves the cute shoe. C sees particular shoes in relation to specific situations, but unlike RA (whose primary concern is the correct choice) C’s shoes are about celebration. If they could sing or dance, C’s shoes would do the cha cha. Celebrate with me, they say. Life is good . . . and even when it’s not, you’ll feel better looking at me! None of my shoes know how to respond to this. What self respecting shoe would want to be looked at?
One day the sun comes up and moves across the sky just like the day before. The next day, I unwittingly discover an alternate world about five feet below my line of vision. Unbeknownst to me, it has co-existed all around me for years. My feet are asking questions. My shoes are not sure what to expect.