There are so many ways to wear
What we’ve got before it’s gone
To make use of what is there
I don’t wear anything I can’t wipe my hands on
— the prophet ani
I’m standing in the parking lot after a run. This being a dream, I can still run.
An old running couple, looking as if they might have been from Olema in the ’60s, stop to inspect my shoes.
“What are they?” one of them asks. Old runners have a way of cutting to the chase. Or the chase pack.
I explain that they’re made by a small low-carbon footprint shoe company in San Francisco, a properly liberal city.
They seem skeptical.
For real, I assure them. They use only socially responsible materials for their shoes. I’m not sure what socially responsible means, but they’re old hippies, and I assume you can dazzle old hippies with ecologically sensitive phrases. Still, they seem skeptical.
What are they made of? they ask.
I explain that the outer material is made from tree fiber, sourced from South African farms that minimize fertilizer and rely on rainfall rather than irrigation. Compared to cotton, it uses 95 percent less rainwater and cuts their carbon footprint in half.
I see an eyebrow goes up, which could be a good sign or merely a post-run twitch. Eyebrows can easily cramp up after a run. The Post-Run Stink Eye. I can see I haven’t won them over, so I continue.
I explain that the shoelaces are made from recycled plastic bottles. One shoelace is one recycled bottle. They seem ambivalent, believing there should be no plastic bottles to recycle in the first place, but grudgingly impressed. I’m reeling them in.
I offer that the eyelets are created thanks to unique microorganisms that consume plant sugars. I don’t even know what this means, and I’m hoping neither is a microbiologist. Not because a microbiologist would understand what this means; I just don’t care for microbiologists.
They nod. Or possibly nod off. Nevertheless, I persist.
I take a step in the dirt and show them the footprint. It’s an honest to god low carbon footprint. We all look at it closely, and there appears to be no carbon whatsoever. I have no idea how they are able to do this. I assume Magic Beer Weasels.
And the insoles! They use castor bean oil to increase the natural content in their insoles. Who doesn’t have fond childhood memories of castor oil? Actually, I don’t. I was quite young at the time. But I think this hooks them. They seem excited at last.
So what are the insoles made of other than castor oil beans, they ask, the one question I had feared.
Baby seals, I am forced to admit. They slaughter baby seals right on the beach and carve their carcasses into insoles. Very comfy except the whiskers can sometimes tickle the bottom of your feet. But they’re grain-fed baby seals, I point out.
The man faints. The woman kicks me in a shin with one of her Hokas, no doubt made out of nothing recycled nor organically sustainable. Some people are never satisfied.
I do my post-run stretch. Yes, since it’s a dream, I stretch. I buy a diet Coke in a plastic bottle on the way home in case I break a shoe lace.
And then I wake up.