Days full of rain
Sky’s comin’ down again
I get so tired
Of these same old blues
Same old song
Baby, it won’t be long
‘fore I be tyin’ on
My flyin’ shoes
— the prophet van zandt
The last thing I remember, “I Love Lucy” was on. It was dark. I think it was early morning. Or maybe late at night. It’s hard to tell the difference in the dark.
I have a vague recollection of dropping Mo at the airport. Or was that a dream? It’s hard to tell if that’s her under the blankets or just more blankets. Lucy has concocted a scheme to save Ricky’s job as a movie star. They’ve just written 500 fan letters to the studio. And then everything goes black.
When I wake up, I’m looking at the shoes. I ordered them because they seem a lot like the Piranhas that no longer exist. A link to the past. A new incarnation of an old friend, even if I was always skeptical of reincarnation. Although I always liked Shirley Maclaine and opening carnation milk with the little triangle can opener. I miss triangle can openers. And “I Love Lucy.” Although I may or may not have just seen it.
I know it’s silly for a 12-minute mile guy to buy 6-ounce flats for 120 bucks. But there’s something about lightweight, low-drop, virtually invisible shoes that make my soul happy. And besides, that’s only $20 per ounce, less than a Samuel Adams Utopia.
I try them on at home (the shoes, not the beer), and they seem maybe OK. Don’t shoes ALWAYS seem OK when you try them on at home? They’re racing flats, so they have that “we’re going to be uncomfortable so you’ll want to get out of us as quickly as possible feel,” but in a good way. But I’m not sure. Some shoes you can put on and know you’re home. This is more like a Motel 6 room with a heater that may or may not cause you to wake up at 3 a.m. with frostbite. I hope Lucy is showing at 3 a.m., just in case.
I wear my regular shoes to the course, not wanting to mess the new guys up too much in case I need to return them. The regular shoes are puzzled. I’m loving them. They’re the best shoes I’ve run in for a long time. So why exactly are we auditioning someone else? I’m hoping it’s a rhetorical question, because I have no answer.
I pull on the shoes. They’re snug, but peppy. They feel OK on the sidewalk, not really getting in the way or doing much of anything. Things are OK past the soccer fields, around the pond, past the parking lot. And then.
The universe sends me a message. There in the grass, is a sign. The cosmos are calling BS. My left big toe is rubbing just a bit. Maybe I could tape it, I think, which is clearly stupid. They’re a hideous blue color with little ninjas all over them. The tongue appears to be made of plastic. And the laces are approximately 7 feet long. I want so badly to love these shoes. But I hate them.
Why would a black-and-white TV show constantly make jokes about the star’s red hair?
Why would the flotrack guys stage a race that combines speed-chugging a 40-ounce malt liquor followed by a 40-yard dash?
Why WOULD birds suddenly appear every time that guy was near? I suppose many of life’s mysteries are meant to be just that.
I finish a mile and sit on the tailgate, putting on the old shoes and remembering why I love them. I wonder why I’m always looking for something that’s not there. It’s not the shoes’ fault, you moron. I wonder if running through wet asphalt is covered under the return policy. I wonder if Ricky kept that movie gig, and if Mo is still under the cover in bed. I wonder if I can call all running shoes Hanzo Huraches, even if they’re not. I really like that name. I just hate that shoe.
I wonder if tomorrow will be the day. Maybe. Follow Thoreau, Dr. Sheehan said. Follow Thoreau. Or maybe it’s all just BS. Thanks a bunch, universe.