Let me tell you about these shoes….
With the preparation for a move comes many decisions. Decisions about which stuff to bring, which stuff to give to my younger brothers, and which stuff to throw away. Looking at the above picture, you might think that the fate of these shoes is not only obviously the latter of the choices, it is also a bit overdue in the making. But you don’t know their story. Let me tell you about these shoes….
The year was 2004. My older brother Michael was working his first job, as a cook at the Pizza Hut in North Topeka. Anyone who has ever worked fast food knows that one of the employee’s required out-of-pocket expenses is some black slip-resistant shoes. Often employers have a program where money can be withheld from your paycheck to purchase shoes which are usually more comfortable, more stylish, and cheaper then the selection at your local Wal-Mart shoe department. So from a Pizza Hut employee catalog, Michael bought these shoes.
It wasn’t long before I turned 16 and also entered the workforce. In January of 2005 I became a pizza-making apprentice under my brother’s training. Regretfully, I opted for a pair of not-so-stylish and not-so-comfortable shoes from K-mart. The long shifts (sometimes 12 hours with no breaks) were murdering my feet, so I quickly commandeered his shoes when Michael found a new job at Ace Hardware.
Some time later, Michael once again required the use of these shoes. On top of working full time at Ace, he also picked up a part time job as a fry cook for Sonic over the summer. So he would wear the shoes during the times he worked at Sonic, and I would use them whenever they were available to me. They saw a lot of use that summer. Finally, about two years after they were purchased I escaped Pizza Hut; and the shoes went into temporary retirement. They moved with Michael and I to Denver in August of 2008; where they periodically saw some use being the comfortable and quick-to-slip-on shoes that they were. Denver was an expensive place to live, and it was hard for me to find a job at first. So I lowered my job search standards back down to fast food; and in May of 2009 the shoes were once again employed full time. Actually that summer they became employed overtime. I worked three jobs for awhile that summer. Wendy's, Subway, and finally a third as the front desk clerk overnight at a Comfort Suites hotel. My job at the hotel didn’t require non-slip shoes though, so these shoes got a little rest. I was soon stabilizing financially, and was able settle down to working at Subway only. And then I had my bike accident…. Though it only would cover a portion of the medical costs, I had to sell my car. Which meant walking to work. Getting to Subway was a tedious 40 minute walk each way. And believe me, I walk fast. Since I worked in these shoes, I also walked in these shoes. The speed-walking commutes I made to work five days each week were starting to take a toll on these shoes which was many times greater than what the several thousand hours of employed standing had already done. The padding behind the heels started to fall out, which caused the comfort level of the shoes to fade almost as quickly as the once non-slip souls beneath my feet. Seven or so months later I was able to start biking again; but so much damage was already done. Still I took the shoes with me when I moved back to Kansas at the end of August, 2010.
Though living in Kansas is cheaper, I still needed to work. So these shoes accompanied me as I found a job at another Subway, and eventually also at Red Lobster. When I first got the job at Red Lobster I used the shoes which I had purchased long before at K-mart. They were almost never used, and looked much more presentable than this worn pair. But that didn’t last long since they were still much more uncomfortable than the worn pair. I would just have to be careful walking on slick floors, and hope nobody looked at my feet. Red Lobster puts more wear on shoes than a standing only fast food job would; so again their stability started to decline.
So here we are eight years after Michael originally bought them. What you see in these pictures is what the shoes look like today. Many times throughout the last year I nearly broke down and bought a new pair of work shoes. But each time the comfort and ease of these ones called back to me. I guess in that regard, these shoes are much like living here in Topeka. There are better places to live; but Topeka is comfortable, cheap, and what I’m use to. So, after learning the story behind these shoes I hope you will understand my choice when deciding their fate. You have to consider that it is hard to throw away memories; and besides, my younger brother Thomas might be getting a job in a few years. So…
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Let me tell you about these shoes….