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I finally managed to get an appropriate pair of resilient shoes a few weeks ago. For the past several years, I’ve gone through a minimum of three pairs annually. I generally prefer to have one pair for everything, but even when I relented and got some leather boots for particularly harsh weather, my main shoes just wouldn’t last. When my most recent favourites reached a state of unacceptable deterioration at the end of the winter, I felt vulnerable enough to temporarily set aside some of my aesthetic concerns. I wanted a reprieve from this cycle of decay, and I decided to provide a bit of extra emphasis to function over form. After a brief search, I found some suitably garish running shoes that seemed to promise a degree of longevity. With that, I resolved to clear thoughts of footwear from my mind for a healthy period.

After a while, this resolution began to lessen. This gradual process was presaged by my first pedicure, which made sandals seem like a possibility for the first time in a decade. The ones I found weren’t terribly useful for frequent wear, but they marked my return to the open toe world quite well.



Months passed before I began to consider new shoes again, but the incongruity of what I wore on my feet against every other aspect of my appearance was never too far from my mind. When a pair of Hassidic businessmen stopped me during a busking expedition to comment on this harsh contrast, I finally started to actively search for something new.

Eventually, I happened to find a Chuck Taylor variant with shiny black scales. Obviously, I purchased them immediately. Their laces were extremely thick, which was probably why a pair of standard laces was included with them. I liked the aesthetic of the default lace, but the thickness seemed mildly inconvenient, for I like to tie my laces quite tightly. In the spirit of compromise, I switched the lace of the right shoe to the thinner one, leaving the option of a switch for the left shoe for a later date. Following this, I promptly lost the other replacement lace. Within the last week or two, the thickness of the left shoe’s lace started to seem undesirable, but I wasn’t motivated to do anything about it.

Another thing for which I feel no motivation is the prospect of paying for parties. It’s not a big thing for me, and I certainly wouldn’t decide against a good party for that reason, but in most situations, the whole process basically amounts to paying to dance. I am fond of dancing, but it’s generally not something I do with any intent. It’s usually just something I do when the mood strikes. It’s the kind of thing I do to assuage my impatience on subway rides. It’s a good diversion when I’ve completely given up on sleep. It’s an activity that can ably fill a variety of situations, but it’s rarely the central point of the situation. Can you imagine a library with a door fee? That’s how cover charges feel to me sometimes. Reading’s a fine activity, but I wouldn’t pay to do it in a place where I couldn’t even choose the book.

But I did say that I don’t avoid good parties, and I maintain that position. Thus, I eagerly accepted a friend’s invitation to join him at his organisation’s concert on Friday. In fairness, the deal was lent a touch of extra sugar by the discount that my friend’s relationship with the party’s benefactors afforded me.

The whole night was great, and it certainly would have been worth the $5 on its own merits. I was therefore surprised and gratified to receive a gift bag as I left the club. A gift bag that contained soft, vivid shoelaces! I still don’t really know what else is in the bag, and I don’t really care. I switched out the lace in my left shoe with this shiny new one at the first opportunity. Now my awesome shoes match each other in comfort even as they maintain the visual asymmetry of which I am so fond.

This is what happens when I pay to dance.


Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.