If the Shoe Fits -- 10/04/02

Okay, time for a Friday Five...

1. What size shoe do you wear?

For many years -- since I was a teenager -- my answer to that would have been ten and a half D, but after a few years of running -- after a black and blue toenail -- I began getting size eleven running shoes and then switched to eleven for everything. (I have one pair of running shoes that's eleven and a half.)

2. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

A lot. Two pairs of running shoes that I rotate wearing plus an older pair that I just use as casual sneakers. (You can only get so many miles out of a pair of running shoes before they loose enough shock absortion capability that they are no longer good for running in... I will probably buy a new pair of running shoes by the end of the year.) Also probably a couple pairs of older, worn-out running shoes lying around in the basement, suitable for muddy yard work. Two pairs of dress shoes (wingtips), one black pair, one brown pair. Two pairs of semi-casual Rockport shoes, one black pair, one brown pair, that I can wear with dress pants (although not formal enough to wear with a suit) when teaching (i.e., standing all day lecturing). A pair of low-cut hiking shoes. A pair of Timberland hiking books. A pair of heavy work boots. I guess when I get to boots I've expanded the topic a bit. There are odds and ends around too: a couple pairs of moccasins (I can only find one pair but I know the others must be around somewhere); a pair of rubbers for wear with dress shoes in rainy weather (and I even know where they are, downstairs hall closet); a pair of cross-country ski boots (probably somewhere in the garage); a pair of bowling shoes (not worn in years but they are somewhere in the basement in my bowling bag along with my bowling ball).

3. What type of shoe do you prefer (boots, sneakers, pumps, etc.)?

Running shoes. (No matter what I am wearing, my podiatrist insists that I wear my orthotics.)

4. Describe your favorite pair of shoes. Why are they your favorite?

My favorite shoes would be one of my current pairs of running shoes. However, I also like my hiking shoes and hiking books. And I do like wingtip dress shoes. Hey, I like almost all of my shoes. I mean, I wouldn't have bought them if I didn't like them. (Oh, okay, I did have a pair of black walking shoes a couple of years ago that I decided I didn't like so I got rid of them.)

5. What's the most you've spent on one pair of shoes?

I spent more than a hundred dollars on a pair of black wingtip Florsheim dress shoes -- not so much you say... ah, but it was in 1988. Cumulatively, of course, I have spent a lot of money on running shoes. So far I've not gone above a hundred dollars for a pair, but I do tend to buy two (sometimes three) pairs per year at eighty or ninety dollars a pair.

A few random shoe thoughts...

When I was a little kid we used to spend much of the summer barefoot. One effect of that was that before too long into the summer we had very tough feet. Back-to-school season always meant a visit to the shoe store... and exclamations about the increase in shoe size... For a long time I believed that I needed a bigger shoe size because of running around barefoot all summer; it was years before I realized that all of me was getting bigger, not just my feet, and being barefoot had nothing to do with my increased shoe size.

I remember the year I selected a pair of black shoes. My mother was saddened that I wasn't interested in white shoes "Soon enough you'll have to wear black shoes every day. You should wear children's shoes a little longer." That was not a very persuasive point in favor of white shoes; if anything, it convinced me that I really needed the black pair.

Does anyone else my age remember the flouroscopy machines in shoe stores? For you younger readers, this was an x-ray machine that allowed you to see how a pair of shoes fit, you could see an image of the foot bones in the shoe. It was especially popular in children's shoe departments -- mothers could see how well (supposedly) the shoes fit their children's feet (it was scientific!) and kids loved it 'cause we could wiggle our toes and watch the bones move. It was great fun; I loved trying on new shoes so I could watch my toe bones! Radiation? These machines had been used at least since the 1920's (operated by highly trained shoe clerks *snicker*) but nobody seems to have wondered about radiation until the late 1940's. These machines, even when properly adjusted, delivered fairly high amounts of x-rays... and leaked radiation, exposing not just the feet (and entire body) of the subject, but also the clerks and anyone else in the area.

It has been cool some mornings... not cold, just cool, mid-fifties or so and then during the day it gets up into the mid-seventies and some mornings, like today, it has even been warm at daybreak, around sixty with mid-day temps in the mid sixties.. And even this weekend, Saturday is supposed to be rainy and humid, with highs in the upper seventies, although Sunday is supposed to be fair and around sixty.

I just wish I had more time to enjoy it... I've got to take a day or two off before the cold weather does arrive... the trouble is, I'm now involved in so many different tasks at work that I really don't see how I can take a day off. Well, maybe if I work extra hard and catch up?

I had to be in Boston yesterday (Thursday). I didn't want to drive there and fight all of that impossible morning commuter traffic. No problem, I'm only five miles from an Amtrak station, I'll just take a train to Boston. My meetings didn't start until 9:30 so I shouldn't have any problems, right? No... good old Amtrak has cut back... I could arrive in Boston's South Station at 6:20 am or at 10:30 am... nothing in between... to get there at 6:20 I needed to catch a train here at 4:47 am. So I got up in the middle of the night -- about three hours sleep -- and got to the train station at 4:35 a.m. (having bought my ticket in advance the night before) and waited around until the 4:47 finally arrived around twenty past five... Ah well, the meetings were very useful and my 6:45 p.m. return train left Boston exactly on time.

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Opinionated babbling since Sept. 26, 1996