Wednesday, January 4

These boots are made for walkin'

Today, I returned a pair of leather boots. And felt wonderful.

I don't know when I quietly began adjusting to shoes and clothes. A number of shirts and trousers in my wardrobe are a shade baggy. While I have no fanciful notions about tight tees and jeans that seem painted on (still don't get the point of slim fits), I am certainly not fond of garments billowing like the Spanish Armada either. Yet, anyone with reasonable vision only needs to glance in my direction to understand that I don't wear clothes as much as they envelop me. Shirts that are an inch too long. Trousers waists with interesting drag coefficients that cling limpet-like for dear life to various belts. And then, there's my ancient nemesis - shoes.

To say that I have a difficult relationship with shoes is like saying ice cubes have a troublesome time with heat. It's practically an independent branch of the occult arts. Take me to a shoe store. Ask me to pick a shoe. Then ask the sales chappie who has oiled over to find it in my size. He will confidently tell his junior associate (Raju, Chottu, Munna, etc.) to find it in the storeroom. I will spend the time perfecting my Dalai Lama expression. The rummaging will begin energetically and noisily enough. Within a minute though, it will begin to tail off until there is complete, sepulchral silence, so thick that Agatha Christie could easily slather generous portions of it onto her books. Said junior associate will then peep out of the storeroom, the light of defeat shining brightly and announce what I've known all along - it's not available in my size.

The salesman will smile helplessly. I will smile back. Full of desperate hope, he will suggest another shoe, something way more expensive and equally hideous. I'll look at the price tag, feel my kidney, then shrug and refuse. The salesman will let out a sigh and tootle off to his corner from where his eyes will then follow me as I root around the store, looking for something to salvage the day. 9 times out of 10, I won't find anything. On the 10th occasion, I'll discover another bearable option and we'll get back on the merry-go-round. It never fails.

In college, I realised life was not going to be kind to me in the shoe department. I'd spotted a pair of Reebok sneakers somewhere and decided to purchase them. The Camp store had them all right. In a bigger size. I bought them, brought them home and wore them. My mother dryly observed that I was a shoo-in (hehehe) for Clown College. Chastised, I returned them, hunting and haunting the J.M and F.C Road branches for a month before I found them in my size. Of course, they weren't available in the colour I wanted. I bought them anyway.

I had taken my first, inauspicious step on my shoe journey. It has left me footsore. Every now and then, I'll give in to a moment of weakness and order a pair online or try it in-store. And quietly return the pair the following day, promising to bring my optimism to heel. But it would seem there is still a sliver of hope buried deep within my sole. How else can I explain my recent interest in a pair of leather boots? It was sheer lunacy. But I bought them (in the smallest size available) anyway. The moment I slipped my foot in, I knew massive fuck-up-ery had happened again. They didn't fit right and were god-awfully uncomfortable. Rather like walking with a pair of weights tied to my feet. Weights that bit into my heels. It was a day of misery.

As I plodded home last night, wincing with every step, I thought about the stupidity of the situation. Here I was, an adult, making independent choices on a daily basis. Was I actually trying to convince myself that the pain and discomfort were worth it? I got home and eased the shoes off. The flood of relief that washed over me was, well... beyond words. Right then, it struck me - I didn't have to suffer this. The shoes could be returned. Life is too short to put up with, adjust to, compromise on many many things. I've started with shoes. What about you?

Song for the moment: I walk the line - Johnny Cash