I never claimed to be part of the fashion scene. I’m not into much about clothing other than modesty. I try to look presentable, but I’d just as soon be comfortable.
My mother did raise me well enough to know that I shouldn’t be wearing a black shirt with brown belt and brown shoes, but it happens I didn’t have a pair of black shoes. So wearing a black shirt with a black belt and brown shoes just made me 2/3rds correct.
So Monday I had to go to Bayou Vista for the St. Mary Parish Council of Governments meeting, and I breezed into my favorite (tongue firmly in check) shoe place, Wally World, to search out a pair of black shoes.
The gods of shopping locally – to me, Wally World is not local – frowned on me from the get-go.
I found me a nice pair of black shoes I liked for $25. I tried one on and it was quite comfortable as I walked up and down the aisle like we do when we’re testing shoes: One old shoe on one foot, one new shoe on the other foot, and we walk kinda like Groucho Marx for some reason, bow-legged and watching our feet, as if we are expecting something to happen. Are we just checking out how cool we look with the shoes, or are we expecting a jack-in-the-box to erupt from the toe?
That night, as I was lacing them up at home, I noticed that the two shoes were not identical. In fact, though only subtle differences, they were two separate styles.
Now, I’m going to admit I thought it, very briefly: "Well, maybe nobody’ll notice." But I work in an office full of women. I wouldn’t have made it all the way through the front door before someone would have yelled, "You have on two different shoes!" and there would have been an uproar of hilarity swelling like a fox was in the hen house.
So Tuesday I headed back to Bayou Vista, and walked up to the service desk with my miss-matched shoes. The kind lady gave me my money back, and I went find me another pair. I was careful about inspecting them this time: Both the same style, both the same size. I put one on and did the Groucho Dance again, and satisfied, took them home.
This morning I woke up, proud of my new black shoes, and put them on. Well, get this now, the other shoe, the one I didn’t try on, though marked identical to the first, was at least one size smaller. By the time I got to town, my right leg was numb from the knee down because the blood couldn’t find its way back up once it got in that black-leather tourniquet.
Furious, I went to our "local" Wally World, limped in and bought a pair of $16 black shoes, checked the sizes, checked the styles, tried both of them on, paid for them, went out to the parking lot, sat inside the door of my truck and took off the shoes I was wearing – the right one required me to use the tire iron to pry with – and put on the new ones. The pair I took off, I’m ashamed to say, made a graceful flight across the parking lot in disgust, and I’m sure made some lucky finder very happy, providing of course his left foot is a size 10 and his right a size 9, or maybe even 8.
The latest pair feel okay, but they’re squeakers. You know the kind of shoes I mean: They react with certain types of floors and squeak. People can hear you coming four doors down. I hate squeakers, but I think I’m all out of options. I thought about using Armor All on them, or WD40, but figured I’d never stay vertical that way. So I’ll just have to deal with sounding like I’m stepping on mice with every footfall until they wear down to silence.
When I was a kid my mom bought me blue Keds. I must be related to the great Redd Foxx, because like him, I’d wear my Keds so long the label would say "-ds" before I got a new pair. We weren’t destitute, but dad worked side jobs to pay for stuff like school clothes and shoes, and he made sure I got my mileage out of them.
Later in life I got into the whole urban cowboy thing, in my teens I guess, and wore cowboy boots. I still miss a good pair of cowboy boots, with the pointy toes suitable for nailing cockroaches in corners, though they always seemed too elfin for a rough-and-tough cowboy to me. Seriously, look at a pair of Clint Eastwood’s boots in a movie like High Plains Drifter and the ones worn by the Keebler Elves. Scary, ain’t it?