Rebel, Rebel

As I was dressing today, I decided to wear brown shoes.

Like many people — not — my shoes choice drives my attire. As my grandmother used to say, “Start at the feet, and dress up.” (She didn’t.)

Season, weather, and plans drive my shoe choice. I’ve found that I’m uncomfortable in sandals in the fall and winter, usually because the day starts out nippy and doesn’t get warm. I’m not much of a sandal person anyway. 

Which takes me to the brown shoes. 

Once I decided to wear brown shoes, the pants and shirt were easy, since it was cool, forty degrees, sunny, with sixty-two degrees anticipated as the high. Since I was wearing brown shoes, I needed a brown belt, right?

Time out. Wait. Hang on. 

Why did I need a brown belt?

Because that’s how I’ve been socialized, normalized, and conditioned. Brown shoes, brown belt. I heard it from Mom, wife, girlfriends, and others. It’s like, why? WTF difference does it make? 

So guess what this rebel did?

If you guessed that I put on black shoes and a black belt, you’re wrong. I’m wearing a black belt with brown shoes. 

Yeah, pretty far out, right?

I’m such a rebel.

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Bravetoe

His socks had a hole which could have been put there by specification, designed to be part of the sock and inserted on the production line, because they were so regular, but it was the product of his left foot’s great toe. Although the toe and nail resembled common toes (and nails), the toe continually used its nail to cut its way out.

Although it’d been happening with his socks for years, it wasn’t until he saw it on his shoes that awareness took on significance. He liked to walk and purchased many shoes for that purpose. The latest generation of Adidas, New Balance, Nike, Under Armour, and Saucony activity shoes that he wore were made of a mesh material. He’d read the material was made of recycled plastic. (He’d never looked it up on the net because he didn’t trust the information on the net, and vetting it as truth required hours of work. He also privately admitted (that is, to himself) that he hoped it was true that the shoes were made of recycled plastic.) The thing is, his big toe was cutting up through his activity shoes’ mesh. There wasn’t anything on his right foot. It was only the left.

Because he had an active imagination, he began to watch the toe more often, specifically trimming its nail back in an effort to slow down its escape efforts. Imaging his toe crying, “Freedom,” as Mel Gibson had when he portrayed William Wallace in a movie, he nicknamed his toe Bravetoe. It was partly whimsy, but also acknowledgement that the toe had a personality and seemed to have a goal.

And a toe like that, who knows what it would do if it ever escaped its prison? He suspected it would probably inspire the rest of the toes to try to do the same, a possibility that he did not want to contemplate.

Although he did.

The Shoeless Dream

I call it the Shoeless Dream, but it was an involved and multi-layered excursion featuring music, family, red ants, and strangers, besides the shoes.

I know exactly the shoes involved, too. They’re still in my closet, and I wear them once in a while. They’re a pair of coffee brown suede Oxfords.

Thinking about how long I’ve had them, I realize that it’s now twenty years. That amazes me. I can put them where I had them because I remember wearing them at work when I lived in Mountain View, California, and worked in Palo Alto, California. That employment ended in 2000, and I moved from Mountain View to Half Moon Bay in 1998.

I lose the shoes during the dream. The dream is taking place at a sort of muddy, outdoor fair and picnic that reeks of a dystopian movie set. The shoes are important to me because I don’t have much. Despite that, I take them off as I walk around. Then, I set them down to to something, forget about them, and walk off. A little later, after going through the fair – about ten ramshackle booths made of plywood, painted with white primer (sometimes) and sometimes decorated with a few Christmas lights, I realize that I’ve forgotten the shoes. I make my way back to them without problem. Finding and picking them up, I go on.

During this dream sequence, there’s a lot happening in my dream. I’m walking around a property that I own, doing a survey. I’m passing by many others who greet me. I’m busy and don’t have time to talk. I recognize aunts in the crowd. As I walk around, I have one shoe on, and carry the other one.

Once again, I put the shoe down and walk off without it. This time, a long period passes. I visit with my sisters, and talk with them about music, ending up singing Collective Soul’s song, “The World I Know” with my youngest sister, and then with my oldest sister.

Further walking around, I head for where I’d earlier noticed vomit. Passing it by before, I’ve decided that I need to go back and clean it up. I remember it was by the patio and go there, but when I get there, the vomit is gone. Instead, there’s a huge line of fire ants. Others are leaving the picnic/fair, so I warn them around the ants. Then I discover ant hills, and other lines of ants. The ground beneath is hard, dry and cracked. I remember that it had been muddy, so I’m puzzled.

Thinking about the mud of before reminds me that I’d lost my other shoe. Retreating my steps, I return to a muddy place, where the picnic/fair still goes on, but now under strings of bare yellow lights. I walk around. People talk to me. I know some of them but some are strangers. I don’t remember anything that’s discussed, except that I tell people that I’m missing my shoe, show them the one on my foot, and ask if they’ve seen the other one. Eventually, I find my shoe.

One thing that struck me as I remembered and posted this (very annotated) version of the dream. I was carrying the shoe and worrying about them because that’s all I had, yet, I was on my property, and inspected it. I thought the shoes were important, but I missed things going on while obsessing about them, and the world changed around me as I went back and forth with the shoes.

In a way, I think the shoes represent my connection to the past. I’m carrying them into the future, but it’s changing around me, and I think I’m warning myself, don’t get stuck in the mud of the past because the world I know has changed.

* All typing errors in this post belong to my cat, Quinn, who insisted that he help me type by getting on my lap and head-butting my hands, arms, and chin while purring, and sometimes trying to nibble on my ear. It can be very distracting.

Dreams of Change

Last night’s dreams were all about change. Of what I remember, one was a vignette where I made coin change for people, including my wife and other family members. Another sequence featured me searching for and trying to change my clothes, which originally were white and light gray, and then trying to change my shoes. That moved into me trying to change the cat kibble, and being totally confused about what I was doing and why I was doing it. An additional series had me helping others change things. In one, I helped my father and friends trying to change a tire.

They’re laughable in the morning light. I realized that each scene and story shared elements.

  1. I was confused about what I was doing and why I was doing it.
  2. In the end, nothing that I set about changing required changed.

It was amazing. I’d make change for peoples’ dollars, and then they’d discover that they had the right change and didn’t need anything. They’d thank me and move on, leaving me standing there with change. The tire that we were trying to change was okay, just a little low on air, giving us a laugh. My clothes were the best choice, so I ended up not changing them, and the people with the other clothes suggestion left, and the cat kibble bowls were full, and the cats were eating them, so, confused, I realized, nothing was required of me.

Hmm, I wonder what message I’m trying to convey to myself with this night of cryptic dreams?

Scandalous

He’s wearing running shoes – with dress socks *gasp* – and an active-wear shirt when all he’s doing are the two double-yous – walking and writing. That’s not what a active-wear attire is for. What’s next, white shoes before Memorial Day and cake for breakfast?

The world is in a shocking state of decay.

The Dare

It was such a small matter.

He said, “I’m going to go check the mail.” Musing about his phrasing, he reached for his shoes. He was not “checking the mail,” he was getting the mail. Odd, they always said, “Check the mail.” Where had that originated?

She said, “I dare you to go like that.”

Stopping, he looked at her. “Like what?”

“In your socks.”

He thought a moment. “Without shoes?”

“Yes.”

“What will you give me?”

As she considered her answer, he considered the temperature. It was thirty-five, but it was dry. “Okay,” he said.

She grinned. “You’re an idjit.”

Yes, he agreed, without speaking, leaving the house. It felt odd to be in his socks, walking on the sidewalk and up the asphalt street, different from being barefoot. His feet seemed to make a different side.

The cats followed him, of course. He saw several neighbors, of course. He waved and nodded to them. He didn’t know if they noticed he was wearing socks but not shoes. What did it matter?

It was a small matter, but it felt so very good.

Coming Out

Yeah, I’m coming out, confessing some sins. Nothing major.

I like spying on people. I haven’t done any peeping tom sort of thing, no. I like sitting back at the cafe and observing exchanges, body language and expression. I eavesdrop when I can. I like looking at the books they carry to see what they’re reading.

In check-out lines at grocery stores and supermarkets, I eyeball their shopping cart contents to see if they bought the same things as me, and what they bought that I considered, or should be considering. Sometimes the stuff I see in their cart make me wonder, “What the hell are you thinking?” I hope, from quantities being purchased, and the items, that they’re having a party, and inviting others to eat all that junk they’re buying. One curiosity that I’ve noticed is that stores are now full of ice cream novelties, but I rarely see them in shopping carts. I think those are an item that we eschew buying when we’re shopping, and run out to get late at night, when fewer people are around, so we can hurry in, furtively purchase them, and then rush home and devour them.

Purses intrigue. They’re usually pretty big. When someone has a small purse, I think, “Does that work?” When women open their purses, I peer in, slightly hoping that I’ll see them carrying a gun or something else that seems interesting or unusual. Most purses I’ve looked into are dark, cluttered messes, though. I usually don’t see much beyond keys, wallets, check books, money, notes and receipts. Oh yeah, tissues, gum, and cough drop. Sometimes they’ll have a cookie, cracker, or piece of fruit.

Of course, we’re all spies at restaurants, peering over at other people’s tables to see what they’re eating. Oh, is that what I ordered? is often asked. But sometimes, I lament, oh, I should’ve ordered that. Sometimes I think, geez, I’m glad I didn’t order that.

Thanks to my wife, I now also check out shoes.  Shopping with her has made me more aware of shoes. It’s not a foot fetish, but a curiosity. I’m conservative when it comes to footwear. I have a rule that I don’t wear tennis or running shoes with jeans or long pants, and I don’t don Saddle Oxfords or penny loafers with my shorts. Some people’s choices startle me, but I’m also envious that they’ll put things like that on their feet. What courage…or insanity.

I draw the line at tall, stiletto heels. They look insanely uncomfortable. I’m constantly irked by television shows and movies that feature a female detective doing a foot chase in very high heels, whether they’re boots, sandals, or fancy dress shoes. I just haven’t seen many women run fast in those in, quote, real life. My wife always says, “If women need to run and they’re in shoes like that, they’ll take them off.”

So, yeah, coming out. Pretty boring, and pretty average. That’s me. Coming out average. You should see my shopping cart.

Triangle Cars in A Dream

Two dreams remain with me from last night. In one, people were buying cars shaped like triangles. In the other, I was a new commander take over my position.

In the car dream, I was with my cousin, Steve. I haven’t seen him in decades. I was thinking about buying a new car. Steve decided he was going to buy one, two. Another fellow was also buying a car.

Steve ended up buying a new Pontiac Trans Am. Black, or charcoal gray, it was shaped like a equilateral triangle. If it was a door stop, it would have been too stout. I didn’t know about triangular cars. This was news to me. There weren’t any wheels. Not as tall as me, I couldn’t see how people could fit into it, nor how it would work.

While Steve bought his car, another person bought an Audi triangular car. The two cars looked remarkably similar. A salesman approached, asking if I wanted to buy a car with wheels. “Why would I do that, when these were available?” I asked back.

I wanted to drive my cousin’s car, to see what it was like. After a little debate, he agreed. We opened doors, got inside, and we took off. Man, I’m telling you, triangular cars are amazing. Driving it was effortless. They accelerate like a rocket but hold the road like a Formula One racer, but they do not actually ride on the road, but a few feet above the surface. We were a little snug inside but the technology was amazing. The experience left me grinning with pleasure.

In the other dream, I was a new commander. It was my first day. I was in a huge briefing room, waiting for others to arrive. My dark blue uniform was crisp and creased. I wore shiny black and red shoes and had decided to roll up my pants cuff to form a larger cuff and show some ankle.

Proud, ready, and confident, I stood at ease awaiting the others’ arrival. The Commander-in-Chief had arrived to oversee the transition of command and was attending my first briefing. When the double doors opened, I stood at attention and saluted him, and then awaited as the others filed in. They did, taking their seats, chatting about me, impressed by my deportment. After the sat, I did as well. I was a little bothered about my cuffs at that point, ruing the decision to roll them up. We sat and waited.

Nothing happened.

After some period of waiting, I grew aware of another set of doors to my right. I opened them and found a conference room full of seated women. As soon as they saw me, one began giving a report on their finances. Another one interrupted, arguing about allocating expenses to another cost center. I don’t remember any of those details.

Neither dream ended with clear understanding. I liked the elements of triangular cars in the first dream and how effortless and pleasurable driving them were, and the black and red shoes in the second, and being in command. Those cars were amazing, even though I have no idea how we managed to fit inside them. Driving them was cool as hell, like a dream come true.

They were confusing dreams, but strike me as optimistic and uplifting. What about you? Have any intriguing dreams recently?

 

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The Shoes

The shoes bothered him. Being a self-effacing sort, he disliked calling attention to himself. He liked sitting in the back, entering and departing without being noticed.

These shoes drew attention. More expensive than he would pay for shoes, they were made by an Italian designer, and were long and very pointed. He preferred more subtle, workman style of shoes that tended to look clunky. Sometimes, she claims, they look like bowling shoes, an indictment uttered with disdain and horror.

So these shoes were bought because of her. Yet, he was wearing them and enduring. Then people complimented him on them. They claimed to really like the shoes.

Was a lesson learned? Not really. She was right about the shoes, as he thought she would be, but he was still a person who preferred to avoid attention.

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