Before our recent trip to India, I heard my husband – on the phone with one of my friends – tell her “maybe two.” Shoes-that’s how many pairs of shoes the sadly erroneous man and love of my life thought I could get by with for a week-long trip? Most men don’t get shoes; they think they are merely functional items that either keep your feet warm or keep you from stepping in unpleasant stuff with your bare feet (you know what I mean, we’ve all done it). They don’t see the need to own multiple-to-numerous pairs, many of which may be inarguably similar. He has a pair of dress shoes, a pair of unremarkable grey tennies, some flip-flops and a pair of Keens I got him because I thought he could use a sporty upgrade in the footwear sector.
Our history with shoes probably began when he noticed I had to have shelves built in my closet to hold all my shoes. (I also had a rack built to hold all my earrings, but that’s a story for another day.) We travel well together which is fortunate because we travel a lot, and, like most couples, I probably have the conspicuously larger suitcase because – I have to pack enough shoes. The word at issue here is “enough.” The preferable number for me would be about a pair a day, plus maybe a pair for evening. He asked me once, at the end of a trip if I wore each pair. What has that got to do with anything? It’s not that I wore them, but that I could wear them.
The "Mustard Festival" Napa 2009
Take a trip we took to California wine country a couple of years ago; the suitcase with my shoes packed in it didn’t make it into the car (there is some question over whether I didn’t bring the suitcase out of the bedroom or that he should have had a gut-feeling there was another bag with my shoes in it), leaving me on a week’s trip with a pair of Clark loafers and a pair of Minnetonka moccasins. The kind with the suede soles. As it rained nearly the whole week we were there, relegating me, really, to just one choice of shoes, I did try shopping for substitutes, but my heart wasn’t in it. That’s a mission not to be taken under duress; shoe shopping should be a pleasure, not an emergency. I haven’t worn that pair of Clarks much since.
Coach, but uncomfortable...
The latest trip was to Japan. Since we were gone 18 days, the one pair per day was impractical. I don’t own a suitcase large enough, plus we were very mobile and had to haul our luggage with us a lot. Even I could get tired of dragging a suitcase full of shoes around Japan. At one point though, I did tell my honey that I couldn’t wear a particular pair of sandals; they weren’t “walking” shoes. (Insert a look here from him, “why did you bring the damn things all this way then, to not wear them?”) I only tell that because, after we got back I had the damn things on when a friend and I decided to walk to the waterfront for lunch. Then she said, “but I don’t have walking shoes on, so let’s drive. “ See, she understands shoes.
Life gets more exciting as you grow older. That might sound like crap, but I raised my kids - three wonderful boys - and now I ski and scuba dive, have a partner I adore and life is so much better than when I was younger and struggling with alot more "stuff". That said, I lost my youngest son to suicide in April 2010 and am amazed that, wrenching as the loss was, it is still possible to be happy and feel grateful-not only that I had him for 26 years-but that what I do have, friends, family, love is that much more precious.