In With The New

Watch out for flying washing machines!  Out with the old, in with the new.  That’s the way of New Years and some people take it literally.  I had to occasionally look skyward that New Year’s eve in Rome.  Not that I really expected to see all sorts of appliances coming out of apartment windows, but just in case.  I had heard stories.  Never did see anything although I did hear a few loud bangs during the night.

A lot of people just recite the in, out philosophy to make themselves feel better.  Things are going to change.  Me, well, I’m more likely to say in with the new, add to the old!  For Christmas I got three new pairs of shoes.  Not that I need them.  I just like shoes.  And I have a hard time getting rid of any. 

Last time I organized the closet I had to put a few pairs into an ancillary closet.  They are on the floor, on shelves and in an over the door rack.  How many pairs of shoes does this chick have I hear you asking?  Something like forty in total.  On the Imelda Marcos scale of shoe ownership, that number barely even registers.  But for a man, and yes, I’m a man, it’s a goodly number. 

There are several pairs I don’t even wear.  They just sit there so I can look at them once in a while. They have sentimental value.  Each pair of shoes I ran one of my three marathons wearing is safely tucked away as a shrine to that accomplishment.  Well done faithful servant.  Now rest.  Kind of a cross between wine cellar and mausoleum I guess.

Others are daily wearers.  Plain old utilitarian.  Like the sneakers I wear to work.  Only to work.  Now that I think about it, those are probably the only pair of shoes I have that are purely utilitarian.

Several pairs of my shoes are on the old side.  Like I said, hard to get rid of.  There is a pair of boat shoes that I’ve had for twenty something years.  Those have been resoled at least three times.  Wingtips that are twenty-five.  Loafers hitting twenty.  Hiking boots past ten or twelve.  There is even a pair I wrote a story about.  That was when I had plantar fasciitis and had to break down and buy old man shoes.  My first pair.  But the very stylish Italian loafers I was used to just didn’t have the support I needed then.  And I’ve kept those frumpy things around.  Sentimental.

Technically I’m more of a collector than a hoarder.  I have thrown out some shoes. Only because my toes were sticking out.  And the shoes weren’t sandals.  Or when the sole of my foot had replaced the sole of the shoe.  Or if it turned out that some pair was actually too small. 

Like the moccasins I had to have.  Just had to.  But the store only had one pair left.  And it wasn’t the right size.  I wore them a few times.  And kept them a long time.  But eventually I came to my senses and they had to go.  Not sure where they went, but I don’t have them any more.

When I started running I wore an 11 and a half.  It didn’t take long for my feet to demand a thirteen EEEE.  Missing toenails, blisters and curling digits served as a clue that I was in the wrong size. I used to say I was buying shoes to wear the boxes rather than the shoes.  Big feet.  The majority of my shoes are a size twelve though.

The weirdest thing was when I was in the Navy.  Maybe you’ve seen the movies where the guy goes into the service and into the uniform line.  He asks for a size nine shoe and they give him a twelve.  Or a size 40 pant when he asks for a 32.  In my case, I got a size 10 shoe when I need a twelve.  Nice leather shoes.  But too damn small.  Somehow I crammed my feet into those things for several months.  But they made me have a huge bunion on my right foot that exists to this day.  When I figured out the size issue, I got some “nice” shoes from the navy.  Including a pair of flight boots that were awesome!  Had to give them back when I left.

Boots.  Loafers.  Lace-ups.  Athletic and aquatic.  Specialized and generalized.  I just like shoes.  To me they are an art form.  Some are even a statement in craftsmanship.  But mostly they are something that catches my eye.  Jumping out at me to say, “Dude, I’ll look great on you.  And you’ll look good wearing me!”  Not always in line with any fashion trend.  Except my own.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?


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