This is a picture of my boots. All together. Altogether too many boots for a girl who travels with all her belongings in two suitcases. It’s an obsession that has less to do with fashion and more to do with the fixation I have with proving that I am devoted to sensible footwear. The story goes like this:
I have this one very vivid memory, which is special in and of itself since I am known for having a particularly bad memory, from when I was about 11 years old. When I was in school, my dad and I had a ritual of getting up extra early and going to Hardee’s every Friday morning. This was awesome for three reasons. 1) I didn’t have to ride the bus to school, 2) I got to eat a cinnamon raisin biscuit covered in frosting for breakfast and 3) I got some alone time with my dad to prove to him how cool I was. Which I wasn’t. But that’s not the point.
On this particular freezing, typical Northern Michigan winter morning, we pulled up to my school as usual. I was still about 10 months away from becoming too cool for my parents, so we pulled right up to the front door. As we parted in the front seat, I noticed several girls trudging through the growing snow drifts in Keds, penny loafers, Vans slip-ons and other similarly unsuitable shoes for such weather. Many of then even brazenly displayed nude ankles under their tight-rolled jeans. I myself was wearing North Pole-grade Sorels and kept my Hush Puppies in my backpack, NOT to be worn until I was safe within the dry and warm confines of school. I was disgusted at their ignorance and, in a typical brown-nosing attempt to prove to my very sensible and weather-conscious father how cool I was, I said so.
“I do not understand why anyone would wear those shoes in this weather. What is wrong with them?” said I.
My father, proud of my sensible boots but wise enough to know I was mere months from losing all ability to act like a rational human being, said, “I don’t know, but you might be doing the same thing someday.”
“NEVER.” I said, with the same resolve I had once had when asked if I would ever kiss a boy with tongue. I marched off into the halls of hell, ahem, I mean middle school completely unaware of the ticking time bomb of puberty within me.
By the next winter, as my father probably knew would happen, I myself was trudging to the bus stop sockless and proud. It took until third period for my feet to thaw and dry out. But I didn’t care, I was too busy applying Lip Smackers and pretending to have angst to hear the actual warning sighs of hypothermia that my body was sending me.
Luckily for my father and my feet, this stage didn’t last long. I am a naturally frozen person, chronically cold in the warmest of circumstances. Being cool wasn’t cool when I was cold. So I went back to boots and snow jackets and scarves and sometimes even a balaklava if the weather called for it.
And I think we can safely say that my obsession with boots and my constant desire for warmth has now gone overboard. I currently own several pairs of boots, almost all in the same category which could be described as ‘flat’, ‘warm’ and ‘waterproof.’ I tend towards brown, black and varying shades in between. I like to buy a size up so I can fit woolen socks inside. I have a pair of Uggs but please don’t be alarmed: I am fully aware that they are inexcusably ugly and gaggingly trendy in the never-frigid climate of Southern California. But it snows here, people, and the rink only has TWO walls (out of a traditional four), so warmth wins out over my cares for being a condescending hipster.
I’ve promised my husband and the unnamed people who have to heft my baggage at the airport that this is the end of the boot parade. I’m stocked up for winter, I’ve applied waterproofing spray liberally and I’m heading off into the damp, wintry streets of Crimmy.