My shoe broke while I was carrying a box upstairs and other news from the moving zone
Let’s start with shoes. Typically I have about four pairs of shoes at any given time: the shoes that I wear on workdays, slightly more interesting and casual shoes I wear other days, one pair of shoes suitable for formal occasions when I’d wear a suit and tie or the like (they happen irregularly and lately have most often been funerals, but when you need to dress up, you need to), and then there’s a pair of sort-of sandals that I can get my feet into even if I have really bad gout attacks in both feet at the same time, and otherwise are the pair I grab if I’m running out to take out the trash or some other temporary errand outside.
That last gives you an important clue about me. I don’t like wearing shoes. When I was a kid, my grandpa, who also ran around his house without shoes all the time, always said it was because he was an Okie at heart. “You can take the boy out of Oklahoma, but never take Oklahoma out of the boy.”
My workday shoes are never dressup shoes. They are usually some variant of hiking boot or pseudo-hiking boot, because for about two decades now my commute home has always included a few miles of walking–by choice. You’ll never get me to go to a gym regularly, but when given a choice between a crowded bus ride (or worse, waiting interminably for a bus because a traffic issue elsewhere in downtown has delayed all the buses) or a walk that will clear my head and doesn’t cost me anything, I’d rather take the walk.
My most recent pair of workday shoes were in need of replacement. It’s funny how shoes will be absolutely fine one day many months after buying them and walking several miles a day in them, and then one day you take a step and you can feel that the undersole support is collapsing. But buying new shoes takes time that I haven’t had lately, because every moment of my life has been filled with either tasks at work with looming dire deadlines, or trying to get through the enormous list of tasks that have to be done to get moved.
And then a bit over a week ago as I was packing, I found a pair of hiking boots in the closet that I hadn’t thrown out when I replaced them. I tried them on, and the undersole support felt intact. The entire shoe felt so much better than my current pair. So I started wearing them. A day or so later, my husband showed me a box of black leather tennis shoes, brand new in a box from the back of another closet. In my size. “I think you bought these as part of a two-for-one sale a while back,” he suggested.
So I told him about finding the other pair, which prompted him to ask whether I had thrown away the current pair that I knew needed replacing. “Well, no,” I admitted. “I just started wearing these because they’re in better shape, but I wore them for a long time a year or so ago, and they’re liable to break down soon.” To which he replied that if that happened I could switch to the brand new pair. And he threw away the current shoes.
Fast forward to the night I decided to squeeze in one more run of things over to the new place, and as I was running up the stairs with a box, it suddenly felt as if something had gotten hung up on my shoe was the flapping about.
Nope. The sole was simply coming off.
By chance, that brand new pair of shoes my husband had found had been carried over to the new place on a previous trip, and it didn’t take me many minutes to find them, so I could go back to running up and down the stairs.
I’m not sure which part of this I should be most embarassed about: that I was working in shoes that hurt my feet and choosing to put off fixing the problem until after the move; that I had hung onto an old pair of shoes I probably should have thrown out and had completely forgotten they were in the closet; that I had completely forgotten a pair of new shoes I bought some time back and let them get lost in the closet.
I recognize that packrat behavior is deeply ingrained in both of us. I have often commented that I’m a packrat, son of packrats, grandson of packrats, great-grandson of packrats (and probably more). I don’t intend that as some kind of excuse that the behavior is something I can’t help doing, but rather to remind myself that I have a ton of learned behaviors, attitudes, and assumptions that reinforce the bahavior. The fight is constant.
We have hauled a lot of stuff to Value Village. We’ve recycled so, so much paper that had been filed and boxed and not looked at in years. We’ve thrown away a lot of stuff. We’ve given away a lot of stuff. But there is still so much stuff!
Even though my goal for this move was not to move anything that we’d just unpack and get rid of, we both suspect that we’re going to decide, while unpacking, that a not insignificant fraction of what we’ve hung onto should have been pitched. We’ve also reached a point where we realize, due to time constraints, that a chunk of stuff that we haven’t had time to go through is going to have to be moved and sorted afterward.
I think the important thing will be not to let ourselves feel guilty about this. We had a plan. We had the goals. Some days we just don’t feel the same level of ruthlessness as others. And earlier in the process, when the number of boxes had not yet swelled into the triple digits, it was easier to be optimistic about how much we’d gotten rid of as opposed to how much we’ve kept.
Sometimes we fool ourselves, and those packrat habits of thinking have tricky ways to making us think we’re being practical in our decision making. And sometimes things fool us. Like the pair of boots and looked and felt as if they were in much better shape had had more wear left in them than the did.
At least I didn’t fall down the stairs when the shoe failed. Have to look at the bright side, right?