I bought a new pair of boots and a new pair of shoes this month because I finally got tired of my feet smelling like wet dog every time I stepped in a puddle. My old boots successfully made it through the winter despite the fact that part of the left one fell off back in December. I was able to patch that up with duct tape, but I didn’t have black duct tape, which would have matched the color of the boots, so I used the neon orange tape that I had laying around. I figured that color would also act as a warning signal to anyone walking behind me that I was a slow-moving vehicle, and they should be careful when they were trying to pass as I might at any moment lurch to one side or the other. This might be particularly dangerous to the nearly silent youthful joggers who constantly whiz by in their Air-Jordan super flying Mercury wing-tipped running shoes, or worse the kids on skateboards or scooters who pass so quickly that I only get the rush of adrenaline from our near collisions after I feel the wind from their backdraft as they zip within inches of my increasingly fragile sacroiliac.
Then my right boot also fell apart, in such a way that taping it up with another piece of duct tape was not sufficient to keep out water, or even small birds and mammals. After I put on dry socks and switched into my shoes, I realized that they too were at the end of their useful life, as they had holes in the soles that I somehow hadn’t noticed or forgotten about when I started wearing my boots regularly.
This is all fairly traumatic for me as I’ve had these boots for about ten years, or in geezer time, since last spring. Can I say they were well broken in? There is definitely no pair of boots that I will ever find that will be as comfortable, at least not for several more years, if I’m lucky enough to outlive my next pair. I know my old boots are beyond repair, even if my shoe repair guy hadn’t retired to Florida, where he spends his days barefoot on the beach, or in flip-flops, never wishing to touch another pair of smelly decaying leather shoes for the rest of his days.
I hate giving up the things that I am used to. I’m the type of person who will wear the same pair of pants, regardless of stains or small rips, basically until they completely shred in the washing machine, or else the zipper stops working (and even then, what are safety pins for?) A shirt or jacket is good until the patches on the elbow patches finally wear through. Consequently, my wardrobe has gotten even more comfortable, although noticeably rattier recently, noticeable to my spouse at least. But now these overly comfortable garments are finally forcing my hand. I can be a schlub if I’m locked away from the rest of society, condemned to intermittently staticky Zoom calls, but now that I have to be a man of the world again I really need to step up my game. Besides, unlike a duck I don’t like waddling around with wet feet.
I can’t help but notice the same thing is happening in other areas of my life. The items that I am comfortable with are finally falling apart and I am being forced to find replacements. And the replacements are just not the same as the things I am used to. Take my computer keyboard, for example. I’ve used the same keyboard for probably 20 years. I think I’ve gone through three or four computers over that span, but the new “Magic” or “Bluetooth” keyboards that come with them are simply not as good as my old keyboard. They either have batteries or you need to remember to regularly recharge them. Even then they will periodically fail to work. The computer will suddenly stop recognizing the keyboard, and you’ll have to spend an hour troubleshooting the problem with some pimple faced high school kid who charges geezers like me $50 an hour to enable us to use our damn typewriters.
That’s primarily what the computer has always been for me: a glorified typewriter that periodically insists, against my will, on changing my spelling, or grammar, or punctuation. Sometimes I long for my old Olivetti, but in the modern world that presents too many problems. Thank God for my old keyboard, which plugs directly into my computer (if you have the right adaptor to go from USB A to B to C to Lightning to Thunder or whatever the hell they come up with to confuse us all in the next upgrade.) The action is crisp, the ergonomics perfect for my hands and I can write without thinking about or troubleshooting the interface.
And even though I recently noticed that the cord is fraying, and I can see the copper wiring beginning to show, I’m not worried because I’ve still got a half a roll of neon orange duct tape.
1 thought on “OLD MAN BUYS NEW SHOES”
I can totally relate to the computer as a “glorified typewriter” that forces changes on you such as indentations you don’t want and then can’t change (it just gets worse!)I embrace the description of “geezer” because at 72 I definitely am one, and unashamedly so (female at that)! Rock on!!!