Man, I loved those shoes. I felt the same way about those shoes as Ray Bradbury felt about his sneakers in "Dandelion Wine."
But the funny thing about those shoes was this: They were dancing shoes. Literally. I am not making this up. You could not put on those shoes without wanting to dance, without being compelled to dance. The soles were wooden, so it was particularly fun to dance while wearing them on carpet.
Now, I've never told anyone this before, so bear with me.
So there I was, on the cusp of manhood, caught in that in-between time of going to school while working a full-time job, yet still living in my parents house and following their rules. Sleeping in my childhood bedroom had the wallpaper with sailing ships on it.
And in that place, I would close my bedroom door and put on those shoes. Tie them up real tight too. They liked that. Looking at them now, for the first time in maybe twenty years or so, I recall vividly that even the shoelaces were blue.
Then, I would reach into my record collection for one particular album had a good-looking black kid on the cover who, at the time, was also on the cusp of manhood and caught in an in-between time and place.
I would remove the album from its sleeve, sometimes bring it up to my face to take a big sniff of that not unpleasant chemical smell, and place it on my stereo.
And, though most all the songs on the album were danceable, the song I always danced to – the song the shoes themselves really seemed to like – was the first song on Side A. Made it real easy not to have to futz around with finding the groove.
And there, on the cusp of manhood, all alone in my childhood bedroom, I danced. And danced. And danced.
The force, you see . . . it had a lot of power . . .
I miss those shoes.
I miss my bedroom.
I miss childhood.
But mostly, I miss dancing.
And I wasn't gonna blog about this at all, but setting aside whatever else came later, thanks, Michael.
Thanks for making this awkward white kid dance.