Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Walk This Way

Well, at some point, I had to get around to this topic, and I can hold back no more. Shoes!!!
I've noticed that there are two kinds of people in this world: shoe people and not-shoe people. My friend Thelma falls into the latter category. She owns something like five pairs of shoes. These would include running shoes, winter boots, work shoes and slippers. I can't remember what that fifth pair is for, but I'm guessing it's something sensible and utilitarian.
I, on the other hand, cannot get through a day without thinking about shoes, and I own so many pairs, I could (hypothetically speaking, of course) never buy another pair and have more than enough to get me to the end of my life. And I'm assuming here that I'll live to a ripe old age. Off the top of my head, I can count about 50 pairs sitting in my closet, a quarter of which would be boots. Stylish boots, boots that are literally unwearable in my present life, boots with heels that'd make chasing Rosemary's Baby through the hay fields of rural Manitoba a completely impossible task.
So what's the attraction? I think it comes down to a couple of things. First, I'm a girl. And girls dream of commitment. No matter how much weight we gain or lose, our shoe size never changes. And because of this, shoes, unlike pants or sweaters, are something we can see as a long-term investment, something that may not even fit our lifestyle today (like my numerous pairs of suede stiletto boots), but that could eventually be our go-to pair on days when we want to feel pretty. In most cases, these kinds of shoes end up on the donation pile before our lives change enough to fit them in, but they represent our hopes and dreams for the future nonetheless, and for this they are well worth the expense.
Secondly, shoes transform us. A pair of well-fitting jeans and a plain white t-shirt can take on a lot of looks and serve a number of purposes with the right pair of shoes. When we go out in public wearing that great pair of red kitten-heel ankle boots, and someone at Wal-Mart asks where you got your shoes because they want a pair too, it tells you you look good, even kick-ass. For a brief moment in time, you get to feel like one of those well-dressed celebrities, or a wardrobe organization expert, or someone in the fashion industry (or whatever it is you aspire to when you're at Wal Mart), instead of a harried mom trying to get a good deal on dog food.
The Captain is not much of a flowers-and-candy kind of guy, and this suits me just fine because I'd much rather him spend the dough on something I can wear or carry, or turn into something impressively crafty. But when he goes away for any extended period of time, he eventually starts to miss me. And when he misses me, he starts sending me shoes. Being a man, he loves a sale, so he gets online and starts looking around for great deals on things he thinks I'd like. And he always finds me something. For this reason, I actually find myself looking forward to his little absences. Hitting the post office on a Wednesday morning to discover a huge box filled with boots and sandals waiting for me is a high like no other. But like all highs, it doesn't last forever, and I have yet to find myself finally satisfied. And herein lies the crux.
I am perplexed as to why I can rip open my latest shoe shipment, try on my new stuff, deem it the best shoe score EVER...and then immediately start thinking about some other style of shoe I simply must have. This, I suppose, is the disease of North American consumerism. Nothing is ever enough, and we buy, buy, buy for fear we will suddenly find ourselves left with nothing.
So, today I turn over a new leaf. No more constant searching for that one pair of shoes that will make me complete. Today (and tomorrow and the next day), I will enjoy the 50+ pairs I already own, save my money for a rainy day, and rest my brain, content in the knowledge that I already have more than I will ever need.
Until I find that perfect pair of black ballet flats in my size.

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