Monday, January 14, 2008


A short time ago, Magda mentioned that she had a pair of ski boots she'd like to lend me. I was picturing in my mind the big plastic downhill ski boots that I once knew, and wondering how it would be to clunk around in them all day. I was concerned that it might not be good for the boots. She then explained that they were cross country ski boots, that her dad bought them at a garage sale some time ago, and that she didn't expect it would hurt them to walk in them all day. I was excited.

I was even more excited when I saw them--I found their shape and the blue and red of them really appealing. One of the first places my mind went was to figuring out what I might wear with them (I think that what they really need is some kind of red jumpsuit, which I don't own). In a conversation with a friend I was talking about how my extreme ambivalence around the issue of clothing and appearance. I believe I've written about it before, and it continues to come up when wearing other people's shoes. On one hand I take a lot of joy in wearing different colours and finding new combinations of things. On the other hand I would like to ignore entirely the issue of appearance, would like to not ever think about it, even though we live in such a visually-centric world. These two parts of me collide and argue, but I usually choose to not think about it too much, so it remains all very messy and unreconciled.

Usually when I get dressed, I choose what shoes to wear at the very end, often as I'm heading out the door. When someone lends me a pair of shoes, the process is either all backwards (me choosing what to wear based on what the shoes 'demand'), or I choose what I want to wear that day using typical parameters (what mood I'm in, what I feel like wearing, what I'm going to be doing that day), and then put on someone else's shoes.

This time was interesting because I have obvious outfits to wear with Magda's boots--red and blue things--that would look pretty goofy (in a fun way). I felt, however, just not so very bold on Monday, and so wore what I felt like wearing. Magda's boots may have been incongruous with spider tights and the black and grey of everything, but that's okay.

Monday morning my stomach was a knot of anticipation for the day. I found it hard to sit still. I went early to the grocery store and to pick up a paper before coming home and finishing an assignment due later that morning. Magda's shoes tickled me with delight. They make a wonderful clicking sound with each step, as the metal loop at the end of each toe meets with the ground. I was also very aware of the arch in them, which was high and felt good. Magda's ski boots were about my size, maybe a bit bigger. There was enough room in them for a pair of wool socks over my tights, but it wasn't so cold outside that I needed them.

We had the first real snow in a while. As I was walking through it, the insole in the left shoe slipped, and continued slipping towards the back of the shoe until the toes of my left foot were making contact with the plastic bottom of the boot. It was an interesting sensation having those toes be so much more cold than the rest of me, and I eventually adjusted the insole. This happened later on in the day as well.

I really appreciated the details of Magda's boots. They are old enough that parts of them are crackled and peeling in all sorts of accidental and lovely ways.

At school Michael asked, "where are your skis!?" in his usual way. Class was punctuated by fire alarm testing, which was strange at best as we plowed on through.

Walking through the buildings on campus, Magda's shoes made a prominent and echo-y sound as metal kissed tile or wooden floor. It reminds me of the sound of teachers in elementary school. I felt a bit self conscious about my steps making so much noise, but liked watching my feet as they did so.

In class we pitched ideas for our next project. I had a bunch of ideas that I wanted to pursue, and narrowed it down to a few. One of them has to do with elevating the status of abandoned objects. I've been wondering about what happens if I care a lot about things that aren't cared for. I have been thinking about collecting the things I find at the side of the road, cleaning them up and mending them, and placing them in cardboard boxes marked, "lost and found," on street corners. To that end I made a concerted effort to pick up things on my walk home.

(a ticket)

(seashells--beside soggy carrots!)

(a pair of glasses.)

I also picked up an ear plug, some wire, plastic beads, and a battery. I ran into Greg as I was picking up seashells, and we walked downtown together, stopping every so often to grab a stray piece of something.

I went to a meeting before heading home. I had wanted to go to an artist's talk as well, but felt way too antsy and cluttered inside. Instead I had dinner, and then went to drop by Tara's. She wasn't home, but there was a small line of cross country ski boots on her front porch that made me smile.

(One of the best things about Magda's shoes was what happens when standing like this. It felt elegant how my whole foot could rest on top of the metal loop on the ground. It made my feet feel long.)

On my walk to Tara's place (and back) I found a glove, a child's shoe, a strange piece of metal, a rag, a washer, and a pair of underwear. I also found a diaper. It was dark, and I actually began to pick it up before realizing my mistake. I guess that there are some things that I am less willing to deal with.

I went by Sharleen's, but didn't see any lights on, so stopped by Lea and Dave's. We had tea and a chat, and it was really nice. I appreciate being able to drop in on people. I felt like it was what I needed.

The day was actually quite all over the place for me. I spent some time thinking about the idea of 'both are true'--that apparent contradictions co-exist all the time without negating each other...boldness and fear, strength and vulnerability, gain and loss, give and take. I actually spent a lot of my day in Magda's shoes a bit preoccupied with my own stuff; I liked having her shoes there to draw me away from all of that. Magda's shoes are lively. Their click on the ground and migrating insole was a nice counterpoint to various anxiety-tinged events that occurred throughout the day. Smiling faces, an engaging class, soggy carrots, seashells, hunks of metal, and good friends also pulled me out of my head and into noticing the nowness of things around me.

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