Shoes. OMG, shoes.
No one had ever complimented me on my shoes. Why would they? They’re just, y’know, shoes. But that last pair I had, people loved those ones. Friends, colleagues, and at least one shopkeeper all dug my footwear. I appreciated it, but it was weird for people to have opinions about my possessions.
But I kinda loved them. As I usually do, by the end. Not for their style or materials, not the eyelets and sole stitching of their physical form, but for the time we trod together, the moments and their memories that we walked through. My shoes usually last about half a year. That is, an off-season and a tour season. By the end of the latter, they’re generally pretty ripe with Roman kilometers and their sweat, Parisian avenues and their petite piles of l’puppy poopoo, then perhaps a retirement on the pedals of my bicycle, hospice on the easy floors of my apartment.
These shoes were made for walking,
and not one time did they crash,
but after all these sweaty miles
they’re going in the trash.
When the time comes to set them aside, it usually takes me awhile. “These have pretty much had it” I’ll think over the course of a week or four. “Time to get a new pair.” Then somehow I’m still wearing them.
I’m not a very good customer. Not skilled at consumerism, nor devout in my materialism. I feel satisfaction at wearing something out instead of throwing away a still serviceable item. I don’t get a rush when I buy something new, no pleasure when it’s time to purchase.
Connection to things only comes at the end, for me. When I set them on the garbage can in Amsterdam, seeing it as a museum pedestal when I walk away to catch the airport tram. And I wanted to salute when I put this last pair, worn well beyond the norm, into the bin.
No, it’s not that I love shoes. They’re just useful for protecting my feet. But when their job is done, they remind me to say thank you for the miles. To give gratitude for every pace of living.