Monday, December 18, 2006
Living On A Shoestring
I’ve never been fond of shopping for clothes. In fact, if it wasn’t illegal and if the climate would be more tropical I’d probably run around naked. I have frequent quarrels with my wife about certain clothing items because they predate the Perestrojka, the Reagan presidency, the Beatles, hieroglyphs or the invention of the wheel. ‘You can’t throw that away’, I’d shout. ‘It’s only…’ and then I’d realise that I had that sweater since second grade in high school.
Although I can last forever with a sweater, other clothing items have a much shorter life span. I’m a notorious shoe-killer for instance. Shoes are lucky if they withstand my tread for a mere year. That’s because I’ve got this bouncy way of walking, combining the gait of a dinosaur (walking on the tips of my feet) with a sole-grinding attack on the pavement, so that my heels churn off at the sides as if they are sinking into the ground (of shame I suppose). But the weak spot is invariably the middle part of the shoe, right at the place where your foot and your toes join. Sooner or later the sole will crack right on this spot, unless I buy real sloppy shoes but they have soles are too thin for winter.
We went shopping on Saturday, in a desperate attempt to find Christmas presents while fighting hordes of people that had foolishly waited until the last moment (although everybody should know that’s when we go around). It was raining, nay, pouring with rain. And by the time we returned home, I felt that my feet were not only tired, but also very cold and very wet. That’s the tell-tale sign that usually leads to the discovery of a big, sole-splitting crack across at least one of my shoes, and this time it was no different. So another pair for the dustbin – or rather the container park because we recycle everything here, even the odours of my feet (as it is illegal to dump toxic waste).
So I ran upstairs to put on my ‘nice’ shoes – the ones I only wear for special occasions. But I’d forgotten that the rings through which the laces run on the right shoe had broken off at two places. And to make it even better I discovered that the heel was coming loose from the leather on the other one. But I didn’t want to continue the evening in my wet shoes because I’ve had enough colds so far, thank you very much. Rubber boots were not really an option, since we were expected at the birthday party of a friend of ours. Ditto for the sport-shoes, which are covered in isolation foam and paint. So off I went, hoping the lace would manage to hold my shoe on my foot running through only three holes and praying that my heel wouldn’t drop off. No dancing for me that night.
So I really need to go and buy shoes. But Christmas gifts, a baby-boom in the family and with friends, a house in reconstruction and the accident we had with our previous car mean that we’re on a tight budget. Maybe I should just go to the salvation army.