Wednesday, February 3, 2010


It starts with a pair of shoes. They are covered in dust bunnies—dust elephants, really. I hold them over a wastebasket, clean them up and then set them atop my office desk. It’s time to reflect.

Italian leather, according to the label. I bought them because I’d never seen plum colored dress shoes for men and, wouldn’t you know it, I already had a plum colored belt. I don’t remember when or where I purchased them. I have a vague recollection I paid more than I could afford—a Carrie Bradshaw splurge before I’d ever heard of the fictional icon. Whenever I wore them, they gave me power. Forget the ruby slippers, Dorothy! I was stylin’ and daring, the only man in the room venturing beyond ho-hum shades of black and brown.

Alas, those days are long gone. I don’t wear leather any more, having had my vegetarian principles questioned too many times by savage, sushi-loving, rib-gnashing friends. Vegan shoe (and belt) styles and colors are woefully limited and uninspired. For now, I cope knowing that no one in my rural environs seems to notice anyway. Gumboots are the rage. I could walk around in duckie slippers without feeling the least bit self-conscious.

Is it just me or do others seem utterly dumbfounded when waking up one day and suddenly realizing a pair of worn in shoes is actually worn out? Even after a casual cleaning, it is clear to me that I must have worn this pair of shoes at least a dozen times too many. They’re scuffed up, the leather is pinched and creased at the toe and the shoes seem to lean inward. They are unfit to be donated; they are done. And so they go, reuniting with the dust elephants in that wastebasket until trash day.

Yes, it starts with one pair. As I anticipate moving to the city (soon?!), I know I have much to do in preparing for a major downsizing, going from two-level house to cramped bachelor suite. On to my olive loafers. I only hope to find a way to quicken the nostalgia. Good thing I’m starting spring cleaning in February!

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