I have a shoe problem. I have an undeniable, innate obsession with shoes. Always have. My Dad used to call me “Imelda”when I was little, although I just smiled and thought it was synonymous with “sweetie,” or “honey.”
My realization of this is not profound; rather, I realize it all the time and don’t care. To coin my least favorite phrase in the history of overused stupid statements: it is what it is.
I do however, remember when it became absolutely essential that I own a certain pair of shoes. I HAD to have them; I would DIE without them. …Clogs. Wooden clogs. We were visiting my grandparents in Ashtabula and we drove around that entire town until I found the exact pair I wanted. Two-toned. Strap around the ankle. I insisted we look while we were there because my friends would not be able to shop in the same store and thus, could not have the same ones.
That was second grade so you’d think my parents would have known it wasn’t going to be an easy path ahead of them. Of course I was more than willing to walk or run that path as long as my kicks were appropriate, new, and no one else had them. That was key. The comfort part came later.
Fast forward to the summer between 8th grade and High School. Chels and I were all consumed that summer – as we laid out in her backyard sandwiched between baby oil and sweat-smelling terry cloth beach towels – with what we’d be wearing on our big day. Our big day when, indubitably, the red carpet would be rolled out for us by some letterman-jacket-wearing heartthrobs.
Think stonewashed jean skirts, button down shirts, Swatch watches, big permed hair complete with penny roll bangs, and….what shoes?! No way, no how could I walk into that high school with older boys standing there all Fast Times at Ridgemont-ish wearing the wrong shoes! I lost sleep over it until my ever understanding Mom took me back to Belden Village Mall for the umpteenth time and we purchased…wait for it…white boat shoes that I “tied” in curly-Q’s on the side. No lacing. Don’t be absurd.
I went to Israel 4 years ago and one of my favorite stops was the Naot Shoe Factory. When our pastor announced we were going there for “a little bit,” my friend Erin looked over at me and asked, “Is that possible for you?” Turns out yes (since it was a loooong walk home), and I successfully purchased two very cool pairs. Summer sandals and black and tan look-like bowling shoes. Both are off the charts comfy with Velcro closures. Wear them all the time.
I honestly don’t know what it is, this inherent love of footwear. It is the thing I notice first about people when I meet them, right after the hands. This cerebral information provides me with everything I need to know about a person in the first 10 seconds. Spot on every time.
Basketball shoes, track shoes, cross country shoes, softball shoes, pool shoes, dressy shoes, funky shoes, two-toned shoes, tall shoes, summer shoes, warm and fuzzy slipper shoes, and lots and lots of boots…I guess not much has changed. Except my closet is much more organized. Oh, and my taste in flooring.