Crossing a Line

No stranger to comfortable shoes, one peek in my closet will reveal a significant selection of Birkenstocks, Danskos, Naots, Merrills and Clarks.  I have spent good money on good shoes because I can’t stand it if my feet hurt.  I might be a shoe-a-holic, but I am not a slave to shoe fashion in lieu of comfort.  My old shoes are rarely thrown out unless they are decimated, and so the collection is rather remarkable in size, but mostly outdated.  When I am not wearing the most comfortable of shoes, I am barefoot.

Air-Jesus shoes

Air-Jesus shoes

Comments from my family about my assortment of un-hip shoes range from “I wouldn’t be caught dead in those” (my sister – referring to a pair of Bjorn sandals) to  “Ugh, you wear those ‘Air Jesus’ shoes!” (accompanied by laughter from my brother, about my well-worn, eighteen year old pair of original style Birks), and a variety of smirks and eye-rolls from sisters and in-laws.  Anything with much of a heel has not been worn in years -even with my penchant/addiction to cowgirl boots,  the field has been narrowed down to the requirement that they need to be extremely comfortable and very supportive on the arches.

A few days ago my sisters, niece and I took a long road trip out-of-state to visit our ninety-year-old Aunt M. in the assisted living facility where she resides.  She is bent and frail, feisty and intelligent, and not the nicest or happiest person you would want to know…the minute one of us would leave the room to attend to something, she would say something catty about the absent person.  But, well, she’s ninety after all (although she’s always been that way, I guess ninety cuts you a lot of slack) and the last living relative of that generation, and so we sighed and accommodated.  She wanted shoes and some new clothing – and mostly to escape from the very clean, well-kept and quite lovely facility she lives in (“Get me out of this prison for a few hours”).  So we took her out to breakfast and then to the local outlet center.

Maneuvering her in and out of the car was a trip in itself.  Although she can get going and work up some significant speed with her walker once you get her standing, first you need to get her out of the chair and on her walkerfeet.  She’s very bent over, so she’s sort of looking down instead of forward.  Then she crashes into walls and other objects while trying to steer, before becoming exhausted, at which point she stops cold and demands to be helped back into a chair.

After getting her out of the facility, into my car, in and out of the restaurant and finally to the outlet center, we located one of those borrowed wheelchairs from the center office for her.  That made things a lot easier.  The first place she wanted to go was the Easy Spirit shoe store.  She was wearing a pair of Easy Spirit sneaker slip-ons, and she liked them so much that she wanted another pair.

I have never owned a pair of Easy Spirit shoes. I have a friend who has been wearing their very nice looking athletic sneakers for many, many years, even before we became “middle-aged” (or, OK,  past middle-aged) and swears by their comfort, but for some reason I never considered them.  I guess I figured they were for “old people”.  Being in that store with Aunt M. was a reinforcement of that opinion.

Aunt M’s new shoes

There was a buy-one-get-the-second-pair-for-half-price sale going on, so we got her two pairs of shoes. She was very particular about what colors we got her, no pushing your opinions and tastes on Aunt M., that was for sure!  She didn’t like coral but she thought the lavender slip-ons were nice.  We got her both lavender and blue pairs.

While one sister catered to her, the rest of us killed some time wandering around the store looking at what Easy Spirit had to offer.

Most of what I saw did not appeal to me….some of it screamed “Comfortable Old People Shoes”…..but suddenly I noticed some cute open-sided gray suede sneaker-shoes….on sale.  And then my sister found the cutest pair of blue and white sneakers!  And they had purple ones too!  Suddenly, there we were, trying on these shoes –  comfortable, foot massaging, supportive shoes.  My teenaged fashionista niece was adding her opinions on what looked good and what didn’t.  The next thing you know, we were standing up at the register getting our buy-one-get-the-second-pair-for-half-price  old people, comfortable shoes.

My new blue suede shoes – cute or what?

My sister turned to me.  “I think we have crossed some sort of line here” she said.  We both glanced over in the direction of Aunt M.

I sighed.  I guess maybe we have.


This entry was posted in Aging, Perspective, Shopping, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Crossing a Line

  1. cynthia says:

    In the ’70s – at least in the Rocky Mountains – we wore hiking boots with aggressive-tread soles with our long hippie skirts and dresses. Getting around the terrain was easier and more comfy that way. So when we went to my sister’s wedding in Wyoming, and I, a bridesmaid, took off the cutesie shoes and put my over-the-ankle lace-up leather Red Wings (guaranteed for life) back on with my pink granny dress for the reception, my sister jokingly referred to me as “Lil Abner”. Air Jesus, Old People shoes, or hillbilly boots… whatever feels right. See you in the comics.


    • daeja's view says:

      Years ago I was taking a secretarial course and I was the only one in the class who wore work boots. At the time I did not live on a paved road. I found out they were calling me “Boot Camp Annie” behind my back! So be it.


  2. Rachelle says:

    Oh I guess I’m over the line too. I been wearing easy spirit sandals for the last few years and most of them are really comfortable I think I even have a pair of aunt Ms although they’re not my favorite and also the wrong size since I got them online. Comfort is everything and these ARE.


  3. Diane says:

    After several years of severe plantar faciatis, and maxing out on cortisone shots, you will find my closet looking much like yours…..And I’m not in the old catagory yet….not till I am at least 75, then I’ll probably change the definition of old to 85. I have very high arches, so I always have to have something with a really good arch support, or I use a pair of birkenstock insoles to help out flatter shoes. My new “older person” find is orthoheel shoes and sandals from the catalog foot smart… will usually find me in my birks’ , merrells, keens, or orthoheel flipflops….all my “pretty” shoes and “FMP’s” for dressy occasions are in boxes in my closet just waiting for me. PS love my hiking boots, and “tims”

    Your blue easy spirit sneakers are way cute….


  4. Amy G. says:

    Your new shoes are quite hip! I think people who insist on comfort versus style are more evolved than those who don’t. It’s just the intelligent thing to do. I admit I’m not there,yet, but getting closer by the day.


    • daeja's view says:

      Oh, glad you like my shoes! I like that concept… “more evolved”! One day you too will let it go and get there. Sometimes we just need to let some things go….


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