Thursday, February 25, 2010

Old Sole.

Sixteen-and-a-half years, and they finally gave out on me. My old favorite pair of sneakers, the ones that I've worn regularly since the seventh grade, have a hole in the canvas on the heel, and I'm pretty sure it's unfixable.

How did I make a pair of sneakers last for so long? I'll be damned if I know. Most of the shoes I buy are second-hand, because I blow through them so fast. Financially, it just makes sense for me to buy shitty pre-loved kicks, because I am very hard on shoes! The soles will break, the leather scuffs, and water can do a hell of a lot of damage to even the nicest pairs. Typically, a pair of shoes will last me less than a year. It's not abnormal for me to come home from a night out and throw my shoes in the trash- it only takes five or six nights of heavy drinking, or a couple of walk-home-from-the-bars, for most pairs to end up totally unwearable.

Somehow, though, one pair has stood the test of time. My Chucks have been overseas, and have walked more miles than maybe any other shoes in the world, and it all started when I was eleven years old and starting the seventh grade.
It was my first year of junior high. I was young and impressionable, and had recently discovered a love of gangsta rap. When hitting up the mall for some back-to-school shopping, I was very strategic about my choices. The goal, in my mind, was to convey my adoration of gangsta rap in my clothing. Flannel shirts, baggy jeans... Hell, I walked around with my shoulders back and head held high constantly, just because Tupac told me to. There was one rapper's style, however, that really caught my eye: Snoop Doggy Dogg.

With crisp Khakis and Chuck Taylors, it's any wonder that Snoop didn't ever get arrested for being too damn smooth (no, just weapons and weed busts instead). That settled it: I needed a pair of Chucks to complete my back-to-school outfits (it's any wonder I didn't date much in junior high, hey?).
My dad had worn Chuck for years, and was happy to purchase me a pair of black high-tops- size 3 1/2, and that's how it all began.

I know what you're thinking: they still make Chuck Taylors, why wouldn't I just go pick up another pair?
Simple: I couldn't stand to see a pair of new Chuck on my feet. It would take me back to a time where it was my first day of junior high, and I spent the whole day staring at the ground, at my fresh new kicks (I was too scared to look anyone in the eye, because my sixth grade teacher had told me that I would probably get my ass kicked on the first day of seventh grade- true story!). From that day, I gradually aged them to perfection, like a fine wine. After years of wearing out the canvas on the sides, and getting the perfect amount of dirt on the white rubber, it would almost feel like a personal regression to pick up a fresh pair at the store.

What am I going to do without my old friends? These sneakers have been one of the most stable relationships I've ever had! I guess I better start searching for a cobbler that specializes in 16 1/2 year-old sneakers, or figure out how to manoeuvre a glue-gun properly. Send your best wishes, imma need 'em...

Your pal,
~sarah p.

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