Monday, August 10, 2009

I thought shoes were supposed to just protect your feet

One particular day, I realized that the only casual shoes I owned were a pair of old fitness shoes and a grubby pair of leather and canvas shoes that had helped me cut the grass a few too many times. This was not a dilemma, not by any means, but rather an observation of a situation that required attention…sometime.

When the time came to get a new pair I had many choices to make. But one decision ruled them all; function or fashion. I chose function due to the practicality of having a shoe that met a need and possibly may look good. So now to ‘shop’. I hit a few select web sites known for shoe deals. Filtering my search results by size and price, I have a winner. And you know what? They don’t look half bad, for shoes that are meant to benefit mostly my feet. A few clicks later and the deal is done.

In my section of the closet, there are a few pairs of shoes. And they all serve a purpose; fit a particular need. A pair of old burgundy Dr Martens serve as the staple for my work wear, sometimes supplemented by a black pair of Nunn Bush with a thick sole. There is a pair of brown boots for when I ride the motorcycle, Sensi flip-flops for the heat, and a few other pairs of ‘oldies’ that never got thrown out when their replacements arrived.

On the other side of the closet, my wife has her collection. She doesn’t necessarily own expensive shoes, but they are many. I’ve been with her shopping for footwear before. It is very different from my experience. Her motivation/goal is a certain look and color combination. I admire her talent for finding the right pair. For her, the shoes may be the finishing accessory to an outfit or its whole inspiration. And she, like many women I assume, suffers for the shoes. It may be muscle soreness, calluses, or even blisters but she always looks great.

I could take lessons from her. I am slowly allowing my conversion to a better dresser; jeans and t-shirts everyday are out. Perhaps one day I will even wear the correct footwear for my apparel choices; but let’s not be hasty.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In the ocean of eveyone else

Ever find yourself in a public place, loaded with people, and not fell a part of it? Surrounded by men, women, seniors, and kids but still separate. Society is funny that way. Analysts, politicians, and even laymen describe it as a complex fabric that holds us all together. I imagine an expansive cloth without seams; composed of an array of colors, textures, and workmanship. Everyone you see or meet somehow ‘fits in’ to different groups. The list of said groups may be long or short, but no two people have the same catalog of groupings.

I sit in the boarding area of gate A19 in a busy terminal of a large international airport. I refrain from reading a book I have with me nor do I choose to drown my surroundings in the sweet bliss of my mp3 player. Left to observe my environment, I take my responsibility seriously.

Is it possible that so many people exist? During my brief observation, I possibly see several hundred individuals; none the same as the next. To be sure there are physical or other visual characteristics that many share. It is not difficult to group the masses in this way. But a closer look reveals individual people. Truly, aside from the small portion of the general population that suffered a genetic mishap, no two people are exactly alike.

Perhaps it’s not profound, but it is staggering to contemplate. Of the billions of people that live or have lived, we are each unique. I fell that this should somehow comfort me to know that all are different; and that not ‘belonging’ is okay and even normal. But it does not. If you dissect my life, it is not difficult to identify the groups with whom I should associate.

I attempt to integrate. It is not my nature. I draw my strength from others and yet often find myself at a loss to create social situations. I have been told that I work/live in ‘phases’. I latch on to something (i.e. hobby, interests, subject matter, idea) and submerse myself in it. My free time is spent Google searching more data; much of it repetitive and not directly useful. The desire to know more, to find something new becomes intoxicating. My mind races when I think of the ‘phase’ and often reflects back upon it throughout the day; until sooner or later I am done; usually just prior to throwing myself from the cliff over a chasm of obsession. And then it begins again with a new stimulus and a new search.

I do learn things from each ‘phase’, but am never satisfied. It is never enough. I think that I am doing all that I can to assimilate into that group. But when it is over, I have no new friends, no lasting affiliation to a new group. I am alone and still looking.

I am fortunate to have a soul supporter in my life companion. She balances me, provides me with energy and love. But I know the burden I encumber her with is not easy and even hindering at times. I wish for her to be strong, independent, and confident. In my eyes, she is all this and more. I love for her happiness and that of our children.

So, as I sit in the airport terminal. I envy those around me with their connections and networks. And I wonder if others feel the same.