Ever since I have become a member of the working world, I have detested buying shoes. I know this may seem like a rare hatred for a woman to have, but I'm sure it has something to do with my occupational choices. I only worked in an office environment for a series of months, when I first moved to New Orleans and was reduced to temping (see temping). The only attire I had remotely suitable was the small wardrobe I bought in order to complete my student teaching of English at the high school level, clothing a year old and purchased for the spring season in the cooler climate of Virginia. As before temping and everything that followed it up to the present, all of my jobs have kept me on my feet, dashing up stairs, around tables, and now, around cars in various states of (dis)repair. On my feet for at least eight hours at a time; I'm now teetering on eleven hours a day.

So the idea of parking my sweaty, stinky, and now tinged white socks in front of some teenage poster child for Nike is not only unappealing, but excessively rude. It would be the equivalent of not bothering to brush your teeth before your dental cleaning or cutting a fart in front of your OBGYN. Being that I unfortunately labor in the heart of suburbia's shopping district, the idea of accomplishing anything remotely consumer oriented on the weekends is pretty much a moot point for someone with my level of impatience. Whether Maryland (see my home state) is truly considered Northern by all parties, I still consider myself and proudly, a Yankee.

The shoe stores I go to, being the model of casual footwear and a self-styled tom boy, are forced to be those mega stores that have so many styles and colors that the samples are often are tied to the shelves by phone cord style attachments. I'm more prone to skater shoes like Simple, Vans, Sketchers, or Converse, and because I am not pro Nike or Adidas, the natural hybrids for me are Saucony and New Balance. Even in a place boasting such selection, I am still at odds to find what I want, and even if I do, find it in my size, a whopping 9 ½ in women's sizes.

While waiting for some airhead kid to find my selection from the myriad of boxes lurking in some unseen stockroom, I contemplate the philosophy of shoes. Why is it, I ask myself, that the people with the least visibly active physiques are the ones wearing shoes created initially (we hope) for tennis, basketball, and running? I would ask the same of punks who wear military issue combat boots as a form of rebellion. Are they even remotely aware of their own potential for self contradiction, or are they simply buying into an image set forth by the media and entertainment conglomerates?

I am not allowing myself much more theoretical perusal, because, due to my impatience, I am a hunter-gatherer when it comes to shoes. I know what I want beforehand, what alternatives are acceptable, how much I want to spend and how much time in which to spend it before I even cross the threshold that is laid with Foot Locker carpeting. I don't want to watch you slowly lace up one shoe and then the next. I don't need to pace around in front of low level mirrors for a half an hour, nor do I need to see the shoe in all fifty colors available. I don't buy a pair of sneakers for every day of the week. My days are all pretty much the same.

Now, don't misread me. I have many pairs of shoes, as any real woman should have. They are all either black or dark blue (my favorite and seemingly self inflicting colors). But I do still seek a balance to my addiction. I don't take a gaggle of chicks with me (don't even have a spare one to use), nor do I make my boyfriend hold my purse and drag him along (I seldom have either for long before I tire of and discard them). I'm in and out, coming off clean as a whistle. And I sleep better at night as a result.

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