I’ve never been an Imelda Marcos, but at one point in my life, I easily owned more than fifty pairs of shoes. I have no excuse for my behavior, or my spending habits, other than I found sales irresistible. Over time, I weened myself off the habit, and now live by the one pair in, one pair out rule. When I brought myself down in quantity, partly from necessity and partly from being really tired of moving boxes of shoes, I became selective about the shoes I kept. Comfort, fit, and functionality made the cut, along with memorability. My black with red strap Mickey Mouse Crocs shoehorned nicely into that category.
I wasn’t quick to jump on the Crocs bandwagon when they first came out. In fact, the only reason I bought them was I got them on sale – like 40% off sale – so I bought the ones that had more than circles. They had mouse heads. It wasn’t practical to put Jibbitz in them as the ear openings made for a highly likely chance of becoming Jibbitzless. (If they can make up the word, I can adjectivate it.) When it came to functionality, they didn’t fit into the style of a shoe I would wear out into the world, but they certainly came in handy when ducking out to a drive through, or even just taking out the trash. Once I adopted a puppy, they became handy dog-walking shoes.
There may be perfect words at perfect moments to capture a precise moment in our lives. Consternation. Exasperation. Indigestion. These summarize the reaction of both me and my dog to my dog-walking shoes when they were transformed into dog-eating shoes. The may have been more like dog-nibbling, or even dog-gnawing shoes, but they would never again be dog-walking, or dog-mom-wearing shoes. She knew she was in trouble from the moment I first glanced their rubbery shards near the door, and yet, that embarrassment never held her back from her munching. K-E-Y would you eat my shoes?
A few days later, a package arrived in the mail. Oddly shaped and addressed to me, I opened the plastic envelope to reveal my second pair of Crocs. A new pair, fresh and clean and tie-dyed, they took the place of the pair I owned for more than a decade. The originals survived the great shoe purge of the early 2000s, and they traveled on at least a half dozen moves from truck to truck to truck, but it was time to slide my soles into a new look for those walks to the trash can. Enclosed in the package of swirled chromatic change I discovered a gift receipt – an apology from my Pompey (see Little Pomp, Or Pompey from March 2022) – for having destroyed a pair of shoes that I distinctly chose to keep. One pair out, and one pair in.