Wednesday, August 20, 2008


On a warm day this past January I walked into a Palm Desert sporting goods store and announced to the first sales associate that I found that I was there with the intention of purchasing a pair of sandals. I was escorted to the back of the store where they sold their footwear and with a sweeping wave of his arm he directed my attention to where the sandals were on display against the far wall. Arranged by size and type they were sorted in gray plastic tubs hanging from the wall. Neatly labeled on each tub was the size and type of sandal, and beneath that, in impossibly small print, the attributes of the sandal were touted in bullet point format. I tried them all on, including a pair that cost an unbelievable $169.99 dollars. For a pair of flip-flops?!?! They all seemed overpriced, including this pair, which I purchased for the princely sum of $23.99. For a pair of flip-flops?!?! I remember that the bullet points stated that these sandals were of state of the art design and comfortable.
I love wearing flip-flops. I first discovered the joys of sandals one summer when I was working at Houghton and found a pair of Birkenstocks that fit me in the Lost and Found. At first I felt funny wearing them like I was betraying some long-held principle, but they were undeniably comfortable. Since that time I have never been without a pair. Unless I am at work I can typically be found wearing my sandals. I sometimes take the dexters or another pair on vacations and such, but usually return and discover as I am unloading the van that they never moved from where I packed them.
It is an interesting study to me how sandals wear. Mine always follow the same pattern. The soles fade smooth over the heel and the balls of my feet. Strangely the right big toe always digs a hole through the padding on my right sandal, the padding under the balls of my left foot always wear a deeper trough then on my right sandal. I wonder what it is about my stride or anatomy that causes such predictable wear.
Where my right toe leaves its mark.
The trough left by the balls of my left foot.

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