Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hoarding: The Red Reeboks, and other souvenirs

(Very brief context: I'm not a hoarder, but it's In The Genes, so it, and the need to maintain strict control over my Stuff lest I fall over the edge, is something that I keep myself aware of. And think about. And read about. And write about. And like that.)

When I was in college, I had a pair of red leather Reebok high-tops. (No, that's not them in the photo, nor do those look like mine. But mine were great, like those look great.)

I loved those shoes. I wore those shoes so constantly for a while that they were What My Feet Looked Like. In those shoes, I was sturdy and I was practical but I was also, well, _red_.  Red is the color of balloons (all other balloons are imitators) and candy apples. It's an essential component of every happy color mix. It's _red_.

Just recently, I was remembering those Reeboks, and thinking how nice it would be to still have them... and as I have before, realizing that, no, it wouldn't.

If I still had them, they'd be sad, dusty, and worst of all faded, jammed in a box somewhere, only coming to light occasionally to make me feel guilty, make me debate whether to get rid of them, and then stuff them back in the box.

As it is, the memory of those shoes is undilutedly good. It's a memory of me as a young adult, out in the world for the first time, making friends for the first time, expressing my quirks, at least in a crazy pair of shoes. It's just good. Having a sad, dusty, sticky (you know how neglected leather gets _sticky_?) pair of Reeboks would just weigh those memories down.

I still have another pair of shoes, not as old but just as important. When we bought this old house, we didn't have a car, and I was here by myself for several days because Himself couldn't escape from an obligation. I remember feeling bad for for him being unable to join me in playing with our new and life-changing toy right out of the box, and I remember being guiltily, intensely happy at being able to play with it myself.

I also remember my feet hurting. There was no car, and I had to walk out for every little thing - forgot the Windex, forgot the butter, forgot the salt, need hedge clippers! I could barely sleep at night, for my feet twitching. So I went to the hiking store and got a pair of shoes that seemed like a likely solution, and they were. I wore those shoes through almost every moment relating to the house, for the first year and a half, maybe more. They're infused with memories of the house, and Himself, and the things that we did. But now they're worn out, and I can't wear them any more.

And looking at the still-bright memories of the Reeboks, and seeing the way that the actual physical Reeboks would have dimmed those memories, I realize that it's time to let those shoes go.

Photo by Alfonso Romeo, Wikimedia Commons. No, those aren't my shoes, nor do they look like them, but they feel right.


  1. I have to fight the hoard instinct as well, though not so much about clothes as craft scraps. I had box after box of craft material that I can't possibly part with, but my red sneakers(me too, though Vans was the brand)where recycled after a year of constant wear... possibly the constant wear wore me out just as it did the sneaks. I just did a halfhearted clean out of my craft materials, but the blinders were on and I couldn't imagine parting with any of my trashy treasures.

  2. I did manage to get rid of a large majority of my fabric and other craft stuff, but there's a core remaining that's much larger than it should be. The beads, for example, and the silks that I _do not know how to sew_, but still can't bear to get rid of, are still around.