This year I resolved to get a bit fit by going for a morning walk/run.
But do that I needed to have the right attire. And the most important part of the attire is shoes.So one weekend last month, I went off to buy a pair of shoes. It had been decades since I had stepped into a sports shop so I was not quite prepared for the experience.
Firstly, the shop is full of posters of extremely fit people doing things, like balancing a ball on their head, or leaping over a closed gate and stuff. Quite useless skills if you ask me, but no one was asking, so I let it go.
The staff were a couple of really well toned youngsters who looked like they could have easily balanced a ball or leapt over a gate.It reminded how I felt whenever I went to the apple service centre. Even though it was always clear which side of the counter the smart guys were, they had to rub it in your face by calling it the genius bar.
Anyway… here I was ..a mis-shapen guy in the savannah under watch by two hyaenas. After letting me look at the various shoes for a while, one of them finally put me out of my misery by asking me what I wanted. Well…a pair of shoes would be good I said.
‘How will you use these shoes?’, she asked.
Not understanding her question and thinking perhaps there were new ways to wear these shoes I replied ‘I think I will use them on my feet’.
She rolled her eyes, mentally cursing the store policy of putting salesgirls on to the guys and the salesguy on the ladies.
Then realising that her commissions rested on my buying something she smiled (or grimaced) and said ‘ I know that sir. But will you use these shoes to play football or tennis or, perhaps golf, or is it running?’
‘None of these’ I said,’I want a pair of shoes to walk’
‘To walk??’ She yelped. I felt that I had dropped significantly in her esteem and she must have been wishing she had taken to being an air hostess on the Chennai – Singapore sector in economy class like her sister. But ‘follow your passion’ they said. And her passion was ‘sports’ and working here got her sports gear for huge discounts. The only downside being, she had to meet people like me.
With great effort, she controlled herself and asked ‘ So this would be for extreme walking then’. I looked in her eyes and saw she really had a pleading look if to say ‘please don’t shatter every single expectation I have of you’. So I did what every true man does when confronted with a pressure situation. I lied.
I said ‘yes of course. I plan to do 20K walks for starters and then undertake the long distance inter city walks. You know like Bangalore to Madras and so on’.
She shook her head as if to say ‘ Old man, you don’t even lie very well’.
So saying she asked me to sit down on of those low chairs they have in all these stores and brought out that thing with which they measure your feet. Have you ever wondered, why is that the metal bar that runs in the middle of the wooden contraption always so cold? Is there some beer chilling underneath that bar? Nothing prepares you for the shock of that cold contrasted with the warm comforting wooden frame holding it!
Then she went in to the store room and after a while returned with about 10 shoe boxes precariously balanced in her hands.
One by one she took them out and started explaining each to me
This one has extra cushioning at the back so that when your feet hit the ground, they don’t get a jolt.
This one has extra cushioning in the front, so that it puts pressure on your calves when you walk, double action.
This one is wide in the front, for wide feet.
This one is water proof.
This one has laces that go around your feet and then into your shoes.
And so on.
All our shoes are made of the same material that they make bullet proof material with. (why?)
If I am somewhere that shooting is involved. I don’t think my bullet proof shoes would be saving my life. ‘Hey see this guy. He is all shot up and all, but his feet are safe’!!
Now I had to find the price of these shoes. Turns out it is a very tricky thing. Asking it out loud, felt very tacky. So the sophisticated me, in the guise of examining the shoe looked at the shoe this way, then that way. Upside down, Inside out. Trying to find the price tag. Finally I spotted it and flipped it open to be greeted by a..bar code!! So now I had no choice but to ask her the price. When I heard it I had a minor stroke. I would have to take a loan to buy these pair of shoes. Now I realised why all these runners like Bolt take off their shoes immediately after the race.
Usain Bolt of Jamaica, smiles as he does a victory lap around Bird’s Nest Stadium after winning the gold medal in the men’s 200-meter final on day 12 of the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008. The 2008 Beijing Olympics will run until Aug. 24, 2008. Natalie Behring/Bloomberg News
I plan to put my own on display in my living room, like a piece of art that people can admire.
I am going to have to find a cheaper resolution next year.