Tag Archives: shoes

I’m not freaking out

Don’t tell me to stop freaking out. How about you stop freaking out? I’m not even freaking out. You think this is freaking out? You should see me when I’m really freaking out. Just, you chill out, all right? How about I won’t tell you to stop flailing your arms in the air if you don’t tell me to get down from this chair? Because I’m not getting down, not until we see where it went, it might still be in here.


There it is, I just saw it, I think it went underneath your jacket. Why didn’t you use the coat hangers? I’m just saying, if that thing gets in a pocket, if it’s pregnant, you’re going to take it home, it’s going to get in the walls, your walls, that thing’s going to multiply, fast, I think just one of them can carry enough genetic diversification to supply a dozen generation’s worth of population, that’s going to be some shit man.

And yeah, one little bug, that’s not such a big deal, but do you know what an infestation looks like? Seriously, you’re not going to have a free second man, you’ll see them on the walls, inside every pocket, you might as well get rid of those coat hangers now, too little, too late, they’re all going to get inside. And I hope you get used to shaking out your shoes before you put them on. You like that crunching sound? Or what if it’s a really small one, and so it just lives in there, hanging out in between your toes, you’ll be like, what’s that itch? What’s going on?

There it is! It’s right behind that box. Do you know how many of those little guys get carried around every day inside boxes just like that? It’s the corrugated material, you can fit like a whole city’s worth of bugs right inside one box. That’s why I don’t let any boxes inside my house. “Not so fast,” I always tell the UPS guy before he even has a chance to knock at the door. “Just leave it down the block. I’ll get to it.”

And I don’t care how many packages I miss out on, because you might get used to those trails of little baby bugs running from crack to corner, but what about the alpha bugs? Huh? Those giant ones that survive into old age, they’re like three, four inches big, I’ve seen a few of those a few times, they were everywhere at my old restaurant, like in the basement, there’d be puddles of standing water and I’d just see the shadows of their antennae from like five feet away.

No thanks, and you tell me stop freaking out, please, this is how it starts, I can’t believe you’re not pushing me off this chair, this is the safest spot in the room. Here’s a little tip. Throw out that jacket. Because yes, I did see it run from underneath your jacket over to that box, but how can we be sure that it was the same one? I mean, do you honestly think that there’s only one bug in this whole place?

No, there’s got to be hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands. I think that’s like a rule, or a rule of thumb, it’s like for every one that you see, there’s got to be like a hundred thousand in the walls. I’m telling you, they’re bred to never get caught, most of these things go their whole lives without ever being seen by a person. But they’re there.

Throw out the jacket. I’m throwing out everything. I really don’t care what my neighbors think, because whatever it is they’ll say, they’ve probably already said it, calling me crazy. You get to like a block away from your house, you strip down out of all your clothes, I’m talking naked, I know it’s tough to believe, but you just got to do it, and you run to your house.

Because what’s the alternative? Huh? I’d rather be naked and have everyone think I’m a little crazy than risk carrying a colony of those assholes back to my house. Because imagine you have just one hiding out in your pocket. You know what that means? You’ve probably got at least a hundred squirming around in your boots, like in those little spaces in between your shoelaces and the holes where you tie those laces through.

I’m not crazy! OK, you think I want to throw all of my stuff away? Because I will. I’ll toss it all out, I’ll burn it, I’ll run bare-assed to a new apartment, I’ll start totally from scratch, it’s the only way, OK? This city’s crawling with them … just … I saw it! It’s right there! Kill it, just step on it, but don’t let the eggs get on your shoes! They’re everywhere! You stop freaking out! I’m not freaking out!

Black, laceless, size fourteen

Every once in a while I’ll find myself in a shoe store. I have a size fourteen foot, so it’s unlikely that they’ll have anything past thirteen. But sometimes there’s going to be something, and maybe it’s not a fourteen, maybe it’s a thirteen but I’ll try it on anyway. And it looks great, I feel like I’m doing a normal thing, buying shoes at a shoe store, I’ll do like a whole series of laps around the showroom just to make sure I’m not tricking myself into thinking that these things are going to work out when they shouldn’t. And I’ll do it, I’ll buy them.

And it always turns out that, despite my in-store laps, I had tricked myself. Because whatever pace I was maintaining on that soft shoe store carpet, now that I’m outside, man, these things are way too tight. It’s the kind of discomfort that only starts to manifest like an hour, two hours after continuous wear.

One time I bought this pair of black shoes for a job at a new restaurant. I needed a very specific style, laceless, black, some sort of adhesive grip on the bottom. I don’t know, it was all a lot of very exact rules for buying these shoes. And I had like a week to make it happen. And so I went online, I found the shoes, they showed up maybe five days later, but they were too big, like way too big. These things said fourteen but they felt like a seventeen.

And so now I only had three days left. I placed another online order, but I wasn’t sure they were going to get here in time. And they didn’t, so I wound up at the shoe store again, tricking myself into buying those thirteens. Don’t worry, I told myself, you’ve got this. These are going to work out fine.

But that slow pain that starts after an hour or two, it was crippling after three or four. By the time I got out four hours after that, my toes were practically purple. Thankfully, while I was at work, that second online order arrived at my house, and so I didn’t even bother to try to them on, I thought, well, I’m definitely never wearing the thirteens ever again, and I don’t have anything else, so they have to work, they simply must fit.

The shoe store lady kind of put up a fight when I went to return the thirteens. “Did you wear them?” and I should’ve just said no, like, what is this lady, the shoe judge? No, just accept the return, thank you very much, you have a nice day too. But for some reason I was overly honest, “Well, yes, but just for one day.”

“One day?” she looked up at me, recoiling the handheld barcode scanner that she was just about to use to zap the purchase clean from my credit card. “What do you mean one day?” and usually I’m much more confrontational, like usually I would’ve been like, “What do you care? Just zap it, what are you, personally invested in this pair of shoes?” But I was so defeated, my feet still swollen from the day before, I think I might of started to weep, a soft weeping, but still, I was like, “Come on, please, they hurt so badly, I can’t …” and she kind of deflated, like I could tell she was looking forward to that confrontation, but this, I had to have been weeping, it was a pity zap, she thought I was pathetic.

And I got to work, my second day on the job, and these shoes, the second online delivery, they said thirteen, and these actually felt like a thirteen. I couldn’t understand it. The fourteens felt like seventeens, but the thirteens a strict thirteen? There was no winning here. It was another painful night. I thought about how I was going to go forward. I thought, am I going to have to find a new job? Why is it this hard to find a pair of shoes?

At the end of the shift, peeling those thirteens off, the rush of blood to my deprived extremities, I said, screw this, I don’t care. No way am I going through another night. I returned everything, all of the boxes, take it all back, I give up. I went into the back of my closet and reached for my trusty pair of blacks, laced up, a little scuffed on the edges, soles so smooth I could slide across the floor with little more than a brisk two-step.

And you know what? Nobody said anything. That stupid rule book that they gave me when I was hired, what a joke. Someone must have written it up years ago and that was the last time it was ever seriously consulted. One time I was on the floor and one of my managers even stopped me, he was like, “Hey Rob, your shoe lace is untied.” I was like, “Hey thanks a lot boss, good eye man,” and he gave me one of these winks, a really mild thumbs-up, like keep up the good work Rob, nice shoes buddy.

Just Do It

Ever since Lance Armstrong fell from grace, I’ve had to default back to my old life motto, Just Do It. It felt great, just, right, like finding an old sweatshirt in the back of your closet that you haven’t put on in years, like you must have put it back there almost immediately after buying it, because you’re thinking back, how often did I really get to wear this sweatshirt, two, three times? And so it’s practically new still, and you’re looking at it, worried, is it still in style? Will I look like a man from the past? And you’re standing there contemplating all of the various ways in which the world is going to judge you, and this voice pops up in the back of your head, it says, “Just do it.”


And you do it. You put on that sweatshirt. That’s what I did. Not with a sweatshirt, that was all just like an example. No, I’d never lose track of a sweatshirt like that. Maybe a pair of sneakers. Sometimes I’ll go to a shoe store just to see if they even have any shoes in my size. And it’s always stupid, because they never do, it’s always twelve, thirteen, tops, and so I’ll get discouraged, I’ll find myself way in the back of the store, that huge wall where it’s just “Everything Must Go!” the shoes are all organized by size, and there’s a little section just devoted to fourteen.

But it’s like, everything must go for a reason. Why? Because all of these shoes suck. But they’re there. There’s always like four or five pairs of shoes in my size. And I start thinking, wow, this is a great deal, what a find. And I’ll try them on but I’m not really loving them. Like I don’t hate them, but I don’t love them, and I’ll debate over and over, do I want them? Should I buy them? And then, conveniently, coincidentally, maybe, but it’s just what I need to hear, or see, I look at the box, the shoes are Nike, or, maybe not these shoes, but I’m in a shoe store, I see the Nike logo everywhere, and in my head it’s like, “Rob. Just do it.”

So I buy them, I make an effort to wear them once, but I’m definitely self-conscious. These aren’t exactly regular shoes. If they were regular, someone would have bought them off the regular aisle, not the please-get-these-shoes-out-of-our-store aisle. I make an excuse to go home early, change out of my shoes, and I don’t even want to look at them anymore, they’re a reminder of everything that’s wrong with me, my flawed sense of style, my inability to be happy with what should be as simple as picking out a pair of shoes.

Back in the closet you go, shoes. And then years later, I’m doing like a massive cleaning, I find them, I think, man, these are practically brand new, and that same feeling creeps in, I’m like, maybe I can make these work. And again, think about the savings. Think about that sensation of having a practically brand new pair of shoes just materializing in my closet. And I’m saying it out loud this time, I’m like, “Just do it!” and my wife is like, “Rob? Did you say something?” and I have to try to avoid giving a direct answer, because I don’t want to sound like a crazy person.

Still, they don’t fit, they weren’t in style years ago, and while the arc of the fashion universe might be long, it hasn’t yet bent toward this particular pair of shoes. The money lost years ago is hardly worth justifying now, and so I don’t feel any guilt at throwing them away, whatever, lesson learned. I pause at the trash can, shouldn’t I try to hold onto these, maybe find a shoe charity that I can donate them to? But I start imagining all of that work, I’ll never do it, I’ll put it off, these things are going to find their way right back into the closet. I’m outside already, I’m looking at the trash can, just do it man, just throw them away.

Done. It was almost kind of easier with Live Strong. I wasn’t so impulsive. That was just a generic expression of fortitude, like, do I really feel like going to work today? I don’t know. Live strong. Whatever, I’ll take the day off, that’ll be good for living strong, because I need to be relaxed to live strong. I can’t be stressed out to live strong. Living strong is so much more adaptable to any situation.

But just do it? I think I need a new life motto. I’m accumulating so much junk. Stupid t-shirts with lame slogans. This pair of pants that almost fits right but not really. I’ve got to stop just doing it, because my house isn’t big enough for all of this garbage. What other kinds of philosophies are out there? What kind of inspirational sayings might apply to how I want to live my life? Have it your way? I’m lovin’ it? That could work. Maybe I’ll gain like a new positive outlook on all of my bad purchases. Like that ugly jacket. I’m lovin’ it? Yeah, maybe I could be lovin’ it.