September 14, 2007
White Sneakers No Mas
How it is possible that I'm walking the streets of Paris in August, in white clunky Aviva sneakers? I bought them umpteen years ago at a time when part of the profit went to helping women in need.
Today, by design standards and quite possibly back then too, they would be considered dinosauric. Not a word? I like it - it describes them well.
I decided against hiking boots and that left all shoes fashionable in my closet (meaning uncomfortable and inappropriate for 16 hour walks). There were also my dance shoes, which are essentially designed for in-door workouts.
In a flurry to get out the door after a quick 40 minute pack, I realized that largely, I had uncomfortable shoes, so quickly grabbed the white eyesores on my way out the door to a waiting taxi.
Numerous days later, I'm in Paris in these monstrosities. I look down to see remnants of loud bright feet from the 1980s, which I also realized was a dead giveaway to my nationality.
After climbing too many hills to name or count in the towns of Bastia and Montmartre, the more fashionable choices fell to the bottom of the bag. Out came the 'whites' which have about as much beauty as a rat with the flu.
I told Henri, a sexy French man in his early forties that I was planning a ceremony of sorts before I left which involved tossing my '1980s whites' into the river. "Le Seine," he cried, half aghast and half uncertain whether I was telling the truth or not.
As much as I dreamed of doing exactly that, the guilt, the guilt, the guilt... Imagine polluting the Seine with ugly American designed sneakers from over two decades ago.
And so it was that I came to spend a fortune on impeccably well designed boots in France. My colleague who was with me said I walked out of the shop "transformed," and he repeated the word. No grave surprise given how I felt walking out in a new pair of boots, with confidence and joy.
Through the Marais I marched, while the 'whites' remained behind, "to be donated," the shop owner said. "Toss them in the Seine," I kept thinking, although was relieved to not only be permanently parting ways with them, but that someone else would find a use for them and perhaps never notice or feel their outdated design.
As for me and the immediate transformation, its hard not to walk with style in Paris or frankly anywhere when you can.
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