Thursday, January 11, 2007

which shoes ....

get me more strange looks, and occasional interesting comments in public?

Why yes, of course, the pair of I'm not really a nearly 40 year old lime green Converse.

So, the background is, well, you all know how you have a pair of shoes, boots, whatever, which are your comfortable, and not completely shabby, going out for the day shoes. Shoes which have held up well, coped with all the perils of daily shoely life, survived deep puddles, grey snow, dog mess, broken pavements, and bubble gum. Shoes which have even survived the one cat's need to remove shoes to a place of privacy, so she can inhale long and deep on the aroma that comes from well-loved shoes. (This cat eats raw potato peelings, so the fact that she wants to stick her head in a trainer should come as no great shock.) But the shoes, they are coming to an end. Still comfortable for an hour or two, but just one day at a yarn show drops a hint that you might just need to wear something else. (The yarn show was in London, and only one pair of shoes, valuable suitcase space, yadda, yadda.) And when your delightful hosts suggest taking you out (actually out, where someone else does the cooking, and the cleaning, and brings you nice things like wine, and keeps filling your glass up, that kind of out), and you ask how far the eating-out place is, and if you can go on your hands and knees, because, well, your feet are threatening all kinds of civil law suits, you know it is time to find some new shoes.

So, the next day, you crawl to the nearest shoe store, full of fancy London types (I'm down from the sticks, you must remember), all looking young, and trendy, with hair and make-up and perfume and fashion and dinky little bags and feet of iron, you realise this isn't a place that is going to sell 'sensible' shoes. And then you remember those All Stars from your youth, how all the trendy girls at your school had them, and how mum was just the absolute meanest, meanest, why didn't she understand, she just didn't care that you had spent all your pocket money on Adam Ant records and posters, and she just wants everyone to laugh at you 'cos your shoes are wrong, and she doesn't care, and if you don't have a pair of Converse right, right now you will just absolutely, completely die. And then that little mist comes down, accompanied by the realisation that there is a credit card in your bag, you do need a pair of new shoes, and they do look as if they would be comfortable, and no-one can say nay.

So you come out with a natty pair of lime green Converse. Which go so incredibly well with your hand-knit socks. And you bounce. You really, really do bounce. (You also tend to go a bit pigeon-toed, because not only are they flat, they are completely and utterly flat, without useful things like arch support. Don't believe me - check out that bouncy, knock-kneed walk that identifies a Converse wearer.) You start getting all yea, whateva, and you even bounce through puddles. (Point to remember - Converse uppers are fabric, and not entirely waterproof, and nor are the helpful little eyelet breathing holes.) And they are great. You have hours of fun, playing with the laces, and bouncing. And they become your new, favourite shoes. Because you didn't just have a birthday which took you really quite dangerously close to 40. Because you are young, not just young at heart. And you go on bouncing. And you go on bouncing with the handknit socks. And you start wearing them all day. And then you bounce home from an evening with friends, when you sat on the floor and ate cheap plastic sponge fingers and drank whiskey and beer and wine, and teased the cats with catnip, and you hear this strange, and strangely regular sound. A little pfthpftht, pfthpftht, pfthpftht, pfthpftht. Which is quite loud. And other people look at you. So you trying skipping, but the pfthpftht, pfthpftht is still there, accompanying the beat as you skip-bounce down the road.

And the next time you wear you new favourite lime green Converse with hand knit socks all day, the same sound is there. And this time you are with knitters. And they laugh at you. And point, and wonder if you had macho beans for dinner. 'Cos the miraculous thing about hand knit wool socks (apart from the miracle that is the heel), is the miraculous thing about wool. How it can absorb water, and still feel warm. How it can absorb water, and not feel wet. And how, at the end of a long day, when you feet just might have felt a little bit toasty warm, and there might also have been a puddle or two, and so your socks might just be a little damp, that that warm, slightly wet wool on the heel rubs up against the back of the nice rubber cradle on the shoe, and with each step you take, your shoes fart.

And of the other shoes - well. What I want to know is, is why women are expected to look all fancy at weddings and such like events, when it is more than likely that this means wearing your fanciest shoes (and yes, The Manolo, he knows how to make a shoe, and I love those shoes with a passion, which is why they only come out for special occasions, and you at the back can behave yourself, because I have, as you very well know, a deeply boring life), and the hosts will always insist on making you walk, stand, manipulate a plate and glass at the same time, expect you to both eat and drink, make interesting and polite conversation with strangers, and try and look vaguely elegant (or at least in ironed and/or matching clothes) on grass. Without sinking. Or spending hours picking off bits of rabbit droppings that have been speared by a very expensive, and very pointy heel.

And finally, the knitting. Which shall not be mentioned, bedeviled as it is by yet more lying ball bands, who declare to be of the same dye lot, yet clearly aren't, because someone must have played shuffle in the yarn store. Which is seen only when the front and the back are just about the be grafted together. So I'm off to post some growth stunting pills to my godson, because I am determined that one day, this jumper shall be finished, and he had better not have grown to big for it.