Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Monday, June 2, 2008

Something is Afoot

"I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money."
-Pablo Picasso

I flung open the closet door this weekend after an excursion to the grocery store. In place of friendly emptiness I was suddenly lambasted and pelted with shoes of all kinds: slippers, running shoes, dress shoes, flip flops, work shoes, sandals, interview shoes, boots and miscellaneous footwear galore. Sixteen pairs- that amounts to thirty two shoes- threw themselves at my bewildered person like oversized hailstones of leather.
"Are we having a party?" I queried, looking around for the guests that could potentially leap forth and cry "surprise!" for no particular reason.
Spouse knew nothing of any hiding visitors. There we both were, stranded among the accumulation, having had a veritable shower rain down most unexpectedly upon us.
It turned out in the end that the shoes belonged to us, each and every one of them. We had not, before that point, put all our shoes together in one place and the result was the shocking discovery that Spouse and I are not yet living as simply as we would like to.
Life was far more elementary when one pair of shoes could carry a man through society with a fair amount of dignity.
Things have become so very complicated in the modern world that we have distinct and demanding shoe needs for the various places and functions we attend; one cannot wear running shoes to work, of course, nor slippers to a party, nor rain boots about the house.
I understand all that perfectly well but it does not solve the distressing problem of excessive and needless complication.
I myself am not even what one would term a Shoe Person; I loathe shoe stores, the endless waste of precious time slipping on pair after pair, the hawkish salespeople.
My mother spent most of my life attempting to keep me upright whenever we went to a store to buy new shoes. If I did not fall into a slumber from apathy I was mentally surveying the enticing book haven next door and wondering how long the day's shoe business would take Mater to accomplish- even if it was my own feet that needed to be shod.
My favourite part of Shoe Day was bringing home the cardboard boxes to play with or to store things in.
So I wonder. I wonder how it is for people that love shoes and shoe stores and collecting things, and I wonder how to separate Spouse and I from any of the masses of shoes that we have somehow come to own. Because it appears that we need each one.
That can hardly be possible- can it?


Kay said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a lovely comment. I'm so happy you did, especially because it led me to yours. I had such fun skimming through your stories. I'm afraid I don't have a lot of time right now just because I'm losing my mind with getting ready for the movers who are coming on Thursday. Arrrrghhh... I had to laugh reading about the many shoes. After 34 years, have we got the shoes!!! I see so many other postings that you've written that I really want to come back and spend more time with your blog site. Thanks again.

polona said...

i disposed of at least 10 pairs of my shoes recently and would have to cut the number even more.
but in an environment like ours one needs different shoes for each occasion, not to mention the seasons...

Barb said...

How ironic that you would post on shoes today. My daughter and I were discussing shoes yesterday and discovered we share a friend who has between 50 & 60 pairs of shoes. I was shocked to think that a regular person could possibly own that many shoes.

So I stopped for a moment and check out my shoe wardrobe. Having problematic feet, I can't wear any of the lovely high heels that many women wear, so my shoes are limited to flats and believe it or not I actually have 16 pairs of shoes and sandles.

This post gave me pause to think ..... do I really need that many pairs of shoes to get me around day to day????

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Musings, your blog is wonderful and I look forward to reading more when you get settled again. I really appreciate you coming by here.

Polona, Yes, the seasons too... we really do need them all. But it still doesn't make sense, how to get out of that loop. Or is that just life, I wonder. Well done to you for at least getting rid of 10 pairs.

Barb, I think the sad answer is yes we do- the trick is perhaps to change lifestyle just a little so that the answer gradually turns into 'no.' But right now I can't see a way to get rid of them- especially since every pair is for practical use and not because I/we think they look good, which would conveniently divide them into necessary and not necessary. No such luck though.
How strange that we were both thinking of shoes- and it's not something I do often. I can't imagine 60 pairs but I can see how it might happen without much trouble.

Beth said...

shoes! I have been planning a shoes post for some time now but hadn't quite gotten to it--I think you've pushed me to pull it together tonight.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Beth- I'll look forward to reading your angle on this matter. It didn't occur to me to write this until I saw all the shoes lined up like that...

Jaime said...

I share your dislike for shoes and shoe shopping. But you are right..we can't wear one pair of shoes to every place or event we go to.
I wish I could wear my slippers and flip flops everywhere...without being laughed at.

Pauline said...

The accumulation of shoes is a dilemma for me, too! I bought a shoe rack to keep them tidy and now the rack is piled high with those extra pairs of shoes that seem to materialize on their own. Maybe they're related to coat hangars...

julochka said...

i've seen much worse...

i culled severely last fall, but i'm sure the situation is still dire. and i just made it worse by buying 2 new pairs last week.

the sunshine made me do it.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Jaime, hurray! A shoe disliker :)
It isn't easy, is it? We can talk about having too many shoes but I can't see a way out...
"I wish I could wear my slippers and flip flops everywhere...without being laughed at." I wouldn't laugh...

Pauline, Oh dear, the shoe rack has probably made things worse for you... they promise help in being organised but they just make a bigger mess, it seems.

Julie, "the sunshine made me do it." The sunshine... hmm... okay. Accepted excuse. You did try, after all... culling is essential.
I don't doubt you've seen worse- after all we're not clothes or shoe people at all so if it's bad for us... I can't imagine how it is for real shoe enthusiasts.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I am a recovered shoe addict.

okay I've said it. (although I never had anywhere near as many shoes as barb's friend....)

I probably still have more shoes than I ought to or need, but only because of being sentimentally attracted to a few of them.

oh my another idea for a thursday theme!!!if anything it will get me to collect all my shoes together and actually count how many pair I have!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Kimy, see, I'm free of the sentimental part, at least. That's a lucky thing for me.
I anxiously await your shoe counting.
Or- how about a contest on your blog- whoever guesses the right number of shoes you have, is the winner... maybe the prize could be every shoe you own.

Anonymous said...

Nice post!! I like your writing skill. Well, I also have some of the pairs of shoes like them.

tangobaby said...

I'm afraid I can't participate in the culling/discarding shoes story. I don't know where my shoe fetish came from but I still have shoes that I have never worn, that are "waiting" for the right outfit to come along. I actually don't mind my shoe obsession although it does get me some ribbing from The Boy on occasion.

However, I can smile and thank you for reminding me of the numerous dollhouses and dioramas that I made with any shoe box I could find! Those were more fun than any storebought toy I had in my closet.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Ami, thank you! I appreciate your words.

Tangobaby, yes, I used to love to make houses out of the boxes too.
You must also have good walking shoes, for where you live ;) I'd never stop walking if I lived there.
Well we all have our obsessions, I think... I have books I haven't read (as does everyone) and lots of things- but no shoes. I think I use them all at least once a year.

Anonymous said...

I am positive I would have more shoes than you do. With three girls, twins and wife, they tend to pile up. Around our house shoes are like socks in the wash - you can never seem to find the mates.


tangobaby said...

Part of the danger for shoe collectors is when you live in a place where footwear purchasing options abound. I'm sure I wouldn't be nearly this bad if I lived somewhere I wasn't put in the direct path of temptation.

Even just going out to pick up a lunch for my boss had me pass by a brand new shoe store that just opened around the corner. My head snapped around to look in the window like it was on a swivel. Now I'm going to have to go back there on my break. *sigh*

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Steve, Yes- I lost a sock just three days ago. Two went into the dryer and one came out. I've never lost a shoe but I can understand how pairs get split up like that when there's so many!

Tangobaby, you talked before about moving to Ireland- there's your motive! But the Mater might drag you to shoe stores for company... beware.
We mentioned this before- when you said you didn't move far away enough!

Unknown said...

My closet is also full (well, a huge box next to it, since I haven't unpacked them). I only buy a pair a year, but I never throw them out!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Kip, yes, they add up after some years! Be careful. Or you might open your closet one day like I did, thinking you 'only buy one pair' and... they'll hit you one by one.

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