Tuesday, October 18
Goodbye, Gross Shoes
Last Friday was my last day working at the Chinese restaurant. I came home from work and took off the near decade old Converse I'd been wearing as work shoes and realized it was probably the last time I'd ever take them off. Restaurant jobs are tough on shoes; they get stinky, worn out, and worst of all, caked in food, scum and kitchen grease. There was no saving them. The Chucks I bought when I was 15 were doomed for the trash the second I put in my notice.
I'm sad to let them go, but I believe they've lead a good life. We saw wild animals together, we climbed mountains together, we probably even got lucky once or twice. They saw me through 4 cross country moves. And while they weren't my first pair of Converse, and they aren't the last, they are the ones I'll remember the most.
There was that one time when I needed to make up some missed classes for Bio lab. The teacher said he'd pass me if I work as a lab assistant for him during some field research. I missed his call the night before and didn't realize what exactly I should wear, so I ended up walking all day through a Minnesota wetland sockless in my black low tops. At one point I ended up in some really deep mud and lost one of them, then fell down trying to fish it out of the gross snail infested muck. I got an 'A' in lab that summer even though I'd missed half the classes. Maybe he felt bad about my muddy sneakers.
In fact, these sneakers, this very pair, was the first pair of shoes I'd owned since childhood that actually fit. I'm on the taller side for a girl, but I have very small feet. All of my friends were my height and wore size 8's and 9's, so through some false logic, I assumed I wore these sizes as well. Nobody ever measured me until the day I went in for these Converse. I wanted black low tops. "A women's 9, please." He looked at my bare feet and asked if I was sure. I was.
"I think I'd better measure first..."
Low and behold...a size 7? I didn't believe it. A women's 7.
"Why did you think you wore size 9's?"
I didn't know. Everything was happening so fast. A size 7? Me?
Well, after the initial shock I realized he was right, and I've been wearing 7's ever since. I owe that to the sneakers that are now in the garbage, stinky and caked in old rice and black scum. I never even changed the shoelaces on them. Not even once.
Goodbye, old friends. You've been loyal to me, and I've been hard on you, but it was good for me, and I hope it was for you.