Thursday, January 24, 2008


Michael told me he had a pair of shoes for me. He brought them to class in a plastic Canadian Tire shopping bag one day. He explained that they were from another part of his life and that he doesn't really want them anymore. In fact, he's been getting rid of all physical reminders of his skater days. Not long ago he gave his skateboard to Miles in exchange for some photo paper and a camera bag. I told Mike that if he gave me his shoes, than they wouldn't be his shoes for me to wear, so he agreed to take them back after I wore them, and look for another way to find a new home for them.

Michael's shoes are black Vans that used to be dark brown. He actually took paint to them. When I asked why that was, he said that he liked the way it looked when the paint rubbed off in places. I have to agree. It makes for what my painting prof would call "a lovely moment."

There are also traces of paint on the white shoelaces, and bits along the white rubber part where the sole meets the upper.

I thought I would wear Michael's shoes as I assumed they were meant to be worn (and how they came to me)--with the laces loose, and not tied up at all. This turned out to not be an especially terrific idea on such a snowy day.

The shoes were awfully floppy on my feet. They didn't look so large, but were actually quite big on me. With each step outside, snow would be flung up my pants and into the shoes. I ended up with very soggy clothing, and very cold, wet feet.

I headed off downtown, briefly to a classmate's house before going to an appointment. It was interesting to see how damp feet made me feel a bit on edge. My feet also soon became sore from trying hard to keep unlaced shoes from falling off. I was able to relax a bit as I noticed the ways in which I was making things more difficult for myself, and eventually cold feet didn't seem so bad.

What I found especially strange was not really being able to see Mike's shoes under the legs of my exceptionally wide pants. They just kind of disappeared under there, except for the tips of the shoes. I had this experience of feeling strange and awkward in shoes that didn't quite fit, and were full of snow, and having a visual field that didn't necessarily correspond to that. It was interesting.

After class I came home and changed my pants and socks. I had actually packed an extra pair of socks in my school bag, but never found an opportune time to expose my feet. When I went out later in the evening, I wore three pairs of socks, and tied Michael's shoes up tightly. That way they stayed on my feet without effort, and no snow migrated inside of them. I bundled myself up in my mom's old arctic parka and really enjoyed walking in the cold that way.

Cecilia and I were expecting our first Cuts 4 Cookies client, but unfortunately she had to reschedule. Instead I hung out for a bit with Ceil and her pals, who were having a heated discussion about bikes and bike culture.

[On a related note--this Friday, being the last Friday of the month, is Critical Mass. January's Critical Mass was superhero-themed, and involved hot chocolate as an added incentive to come ride in the cold (it also, unfortunately, involved rain and hail). Warm drinks and superheroes didn't seem to entice many people, as the three of us below comprised 75% of the Critical Mass population this time around. So, if you have a bike, and you like to ride it, consider joining us--or critical massers near you--for a ride!]

Michael's shoes are quirky. They are the first painted shoes I've worn. They are probably also the first shoes I've worn that are quite distant from their owner's present way of life. I appreciated their surprises--the spots where paint had rubbed away, the way the paint had bled onto the laces, how they flicked snow up at me. It was interesting to notice my frustration with the wet feet situation, and how it wasn't such a big issue once I accepted it for what it was. And it was actually comfortable having the shoes flop around on my feet, especially after I tied them up. The not-so-careful paint job turned out to be very useful: the paint on the laces indicated where to pull the laces back to when I was done with them. I especially enjoyed this (perhaps) accidental feature of Mike's shoes.

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