My new shoes
Shoes. For many years I hated shoe shopping. I did it as infrequently as possible.
This started at age 12 when my feet hit size 13. I bought my first pair of white Reebok hightops on a summer trip to visit my grandmother in Michigan. They seemed like a good idea at the time. They were a name brand. Which made me feel like I was cool, even if no one else saw it that way.
I got these same shoes the next year when my feet hit size 14. And the next when they hit 15. By the point they hit 15 it was less of a choice as that’s what they had in the store. The size 15 white Reebok hightops were hand carried in a suitcase into the Soviet Union. There is video of me dancing in them, my voice cracking. At the point the video was taken I was 6’2″ and somewhere between 100 and 120 pounds due to a bout of Amoebic Dysentery, and so the shoes appear to have been taken from a giant japanese transforming robot. There are many pictures during our travels of other children wearing my shoes. Engulfed up to their knees in white shoes.
When I came back, I decided it was time for something a little more practical. Something that would let my ankle bend. So I decided to go with the fashion trend from a few years back and buy some top-siders. I went down to the big-and-tall store. Figuring that was an appropriate place to buy large shoes. You know, because they sell clothes for big-and-tall people. Me being a tall person.
Once there the salesman found the top-siders for me and asked if I was going to go water skiing. Or head out to Colorado. At the big-and-tall store. And that’s pretty much how it went for years after. I would go into a store and ask what shoes they had in my size. They would bring me out a box and crack a joke. About watershiing, or snow skiing. And I would decide if I was at all interested in their 1 pair of shoes. More often than not it was on to to the next store.
A few years ago, my oldest sister (who also has feet proportionate to her height, but out of proportion with what stores want to stock) told me about Zappos. Where you could put in your shoe size, and they’d show you all the shoes they had in stock. I figured this sounded good, but I was completely unprepared to have thousands of choices. The first pair of shoes I bought there was almost impossibly difficult because I had too much choice. I had gone from the Soviet shoe-stores to the west, and it was too much.
Last night I went back again. Chose size-15. Men’s shoes. Black. And got my list of hundreds of shoes. I chose what I wanted and made my purchase at about 5pm last night. They have free shipping to you. And free shipping back if the shoes don’t fit. When I checked my email this morning, I got an email saying they’d expedited my order. Just because. I can only assume that there must be someone there with size 15 feet who knows what I’ve been through and sped things up for me. I had another email waiting with my tracking number. I went to UPS and looked it up. The shoes are out for delivery.
Wow. Around 14 hours after I placed my order the shoes are on a truck, and I’ll get them today. What rockstars.