“Momma always says there’s an awful lot you could tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going. Where they’ve been.“ This was the lesson taught to Forrest Gump by his Mother who wisely saw fit to parent through the use of metaphors such as her ever-popular “Box of chocolates .” In her shoe theory though, the suggestion need not be over analyzed. We can like the Forest Gump quote suggests tell a lot about people if we just look down every once and a while.
On any given day I am bound to put on several types of shoes. My combat boots for instance are a constant reminder of my obligations to my country and the gratitude that I have for the American taxpayers who provide for my healthy lifestyle. As soon as I get out of work though I throw on my running shoes and race around town on a sunset run. No longer do I stand out from the civilian population but instead zip past it as I stride towards my destination.
After a run, I’ll jump in the shower to give my feet a momentary break between footwear and then slip on some island-style flip flops to lounge around in. On the weekends I’ll wear sandals, go barefoot, put my athletic cleats to good use and even clean up with a nice pair of shoes for a dinner date.
The point is that there is a little piece of me in every one of those shoes that I put on and a slightly different persona that goes along with them. Now those who really know me can vouched for the fact that I have a tendency to exhibit split-personality like symptoms, although this is not what I’m getting at. Rather, just because one sees me wearing combat boots one day, should not necessarily assume that I might not be at a peace rally the next. Just as it is wrong to judge a book by its cover, it’s also just as erroneous to judge someone by the shoes on their feet. One might conclude a person’s hobby that way, but still may never know what else they might be into as well.
Allow me to explain a few of my shoes:
Those of you that have seen the competitive side of me have been privy to the Deion-like swagger that I maintain when I’m on the playing field. Along with my cleats comes a more confident, albeit borderline cocky jock with the trash talking to match. The two are inseparable, you just can’t have one without the other.
Call it the island fever, assimilation or the atmosphere, because when I have my flip flops on I take on the laid back, aloha attitude of the locals. While I’ll readily admit to wear a watch, I rarely check it when my flip flops are on, mostly because I know that when it’s time to go home, the sun will go down.
My demeanor gets a little more serious with my combat boots on. As I walk out the door and into my car, I am no longer the care-free civilian chilling on the beach, or ego driven jock. I am property of the US government, sent to serve the very people who have paid for everything that I own.
As I began writing this piece, I thought it’d be interesting to count how many shoes I own and to grasp their function. Unlike my girlfriend whose walk in closet houses four times my collection, her footwear while important has many redundant purposes…high heels come to mind.
Golf Shoes (Nike), Flip flops (Reef), shower sandals, dress shoes (military/civilian), club shoes (Diesel), Combat boots (tan/black), running shoes (Nikex2)Football cleats (Nike), Crocs (Payless), Tennis shoes (Adidas), utility shoes (Puma), basketball shoes (And 1) and even dancing shoes!
Fifteen shoes total, all with a different purpose, all of which cater to whatever mood or activity that I feel up to at the moment.
In a sense attempting to "walk a mile in my shoes," is a misnomer. Before I would invite anyone to that challenge, I'd have to browse through my collection and choose which pair for them to try on.