Monday, March 23, 2009

I Still Only Travel by Foot and by Foot It's a Slow Climb

The other day I was hanging out at my house thinking about how great my life is. I know, this may come as a shock. Believe me, I have much to be grateful for, and I'm really not as bitter as one might think, had they happened upon my blog in time to read my last diatribe.
So I started thinking about the small and simple things that make me glad when I wake up in the morning. There's the really big stuff-- like the fact that while my family is a touch on the ridiculous side here and there, they're really generally awesome people who work with a will and would give you the shirts off their backs. I'm grateful to get up in the morning, stretch, and sing the Hallelujah Chorus in the shower. I've got a good posse of friends, and even am influential enough to merit the "I Hate Rachel" club. It's pleasing to me to hear the birds sing outside, and all that jazz. But sometimes it's just life's little luxuries that bring a smile to one's face. Hence, an entry dedicated to the artistry of shoes. This picture is a little messy, but when I walk into my closet, this is what greets me:
I love having options! And I started thinking about that old proverb about walking a mile in someone else's shoes, and wondered what people would think about their experience in mine. Some of the best-loved ones are the yuckiest, but have you ever really looked at someone's shoes? There's a whole lot of personality insight.
The other day, I was talking to a friend about what she was planning to wear to a formal fundraising event. She is the kindest soul on the planet, but because she's so much more concerned about helping others than doing anything for herself, I was not at all surprised to see she'd chosen some very utilitarian, comfortable black shoes to go with her outfit. In fact, they may have been a touch inappropriate for the event, but this woman couldn't care less. And more power to her.
As for me, you'll often see me choosing comfort over fashion, though I feel like my footwear makes a good statement or two. I love my Chucks because they appeal not only to the nostalgia factor, but also to a movement of artistic rebellion. Now they're a touch cliche, worn by little hipsters and disenfranchised youth, but you can tell a lot by the shape a pair of Converse are in. I'm almost embarrassed to wear new ones, because when they're beat to death, you get some street cred. I plan to copy Tresann and wear some (clean ones) at my wedding someday.
Likewise, I'm the Queen of flip-flops year long. Here's my fav pair, courtesy my best friend's trip to Brazil a year and a half ago:

Fortunately, NM weather allows me to sport these even in winter-- leg warmers do wonders.
Next, let us turn in praise of the ballet flat. These leopard-print ones are some of my favorite, and if you could see the insoles you'd know it. There are many who reject leopard print, but how can you ignore it? It's almost like a neutral if you wear it the right way. And I like the way they can jazz up an otherwise drab, conservative look. Shoes are great for that in general.

I got my first pair of Doc Martens when I was about 15, and boy, were they ugly! They were these plain ones that were simply awful and masculine. My great-aunt Sophie sent them to me. She'd asked me what size I wore, and I told her, but they were way too big. She got them for me at an outlet store, in an effort to make me cooler with my grunge friends (I believe this was during the Jenco era, which pants are only slightly less ridiculous than the tight, tapered jeans popular again during this 80s revival). Through the years, I'd save up money and get wing-tip pairs, which were a great improvement. I had the sandals (which were dangerous... leave them in the floor and pop your little toe out of place every time) and probably some others, but my favorite ones (and the only ones I still wear) were these that I bought in Canterbury on my first trip to London when I was 17:

Notice the scuffy toes? That happened pretty much right away. But I like these because they appeal to that London-punk feel-- you look like you could kick the crap out of somebody while wearing these. I prefer them with dresses, like Angela Chase in "My So-Called Life."
When it comes to the purely frivolous, here are my galoshes:

It never rains here, so I've only worn these once-- to the recent Los Alamos activity. They're not too comfortable, but I was so excited to wear them in the snow that I kept them on most of the day. I wore them with rolled up jeans and a Scandinavian-looking sweater. I kind of forgot what I must have looked like when I strolled into Sam's Club and proceeded to flirt with my cashier-- the most attractive, er, Little Person, in the world. Oh, what he must have thought of me! I'm kind of a shorty myself, at only 5'4", but to him I likely looked like this giant Viking woman. Still, I'll pull these out again if we have a good monsoon season this summer. Why do I think they'd also be charming with a skirt?

Then of course, there is this beloved pair of sneakers by Ed Hardy, the famed tattoo artist. Normally I am opposed to fake Converse but these are super-cool. Like my others, I feel like these are a lot cooler now that they're dirtier, but the beautiful girl on one side and nasty skull on the other were too fab to resist. I like the way they shock some of the older ladies I see. Here is Gypsy Rachel, who tends to err on the side of femininity ever since being called "young man" in a McDonald's at the ripe old age of 12, in shoes better suited to her goth counterparts. And yet, I wear them, and feel like someone seeing them in a store would say, "Rach would love those!"
And as I am a New Mexican, I feel obligated to own a pair of Cowgirl Boots. Most of the time, I think boots are icky, and when I got these I felt like a huge poser. I went into Western Warehouse with pink hair (which was an accident), but they've since become a great closet staple. What else would you wear to the Mechenbier's Annual Pig Roast?

Then, of course, are my slippers. Sock monkeys seemed like the natural choice. I'm afraid that shortly after this picture was taken, part of the sole came out of the right slipper. When I bought these at Target seven months ago, I thought maybe they were at bit extravagant (is $15 too much for slippers? I'd argue not, considering I've worn them every day since). But now I just hope they still have 'em, because I'm in need of a replacement pair.
So maybe this frivolous little post makes you think that I'm not only bitter, but also a shop-a-holic and quite vain when it comes to shoes. But I think if you're going to walk a mile in 'em (which I often do-- even in the heels, taking Zoey for walks in her stroller), you might as well make a statement.


At March 23, 2009 at 11:36 AM , Blogger Peppermint Patty said...

Your shoe collection is awesome!!! And so glad the Havianas made it on your page!

At March 23, 2009 at 11:47 AM , Blogger Rachel said...

Sadly, that's just scratching the surface. I am a weak woman, and Target is my best friend (besides you).

At March 23, 2009 at 11:58 AM , Blogger Reuben said...

ohmygosh. Angela Chase was pretty much the first girl I ever had a crush on... I loved her hair...


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