Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lighter fare - "Shoe-Chauvinism" in America :-)

Three sets of pictures - three short posts:

1. I am not believing the hard time we've had trying to find Rebekah a pair of good walking/hiking shoes for the trip to Europe! Walk in any shoe store (each mall or plaza sports an average of ten shoe vendors per 100 yards of shopping) and there you'll see it, shoe-chauvinism in action!

Look to the men's side first. You'll find every imaginable shoe variation under the sun. Dress, casual, walking, running, tennis, sandals, flip-flops, work, every task and every activity imaginable. At Rack-Room there were close 20 options in hiking alone....

Now check out the shoes for women: Pretty, colorful, impractical, high-heeled, decorative... then usually all kinds of pseudo-athletic shoes in a variety of "high-fashion" styles sporting no end of bling. The sporting stores did offer running and work-out shoes, but the hiking selections simply do not exist.

"So do you expect women to wait in the car - or stay home - while the men hike?" I asked one store manager.... "Or is it asking too much to sell footware my wife can actually ambulate in rather than simply stand still and look pretty?"

The best exchange came at a store in the Westfield Mall (Brandon) - the site map lists 25 shoe stores. The store in question is called "The Walking Company."

"This has got to be the right place," I said when I entered the store. Incidentally, the place was empty of customers. "Good evening. We'd like to see your women's hiking shoes."

"We don't carry hiking shoes for women," the guy said.

"But this is 'The Walking Company,'" I retorted, looking around incredulously.

"It's not the right season. Hiking is fall and winter," he explained, beginning to sound all prissy and fashionistic. "We don't sell women's hiking shoes in the Spring and Summer."

"But people go on vacation in the summer," I offered. "That's when they walk the most."

I knew the conversation was over when he rolled his eyes with an air of, You have no fashion sense and consequently you shouldn't be in my store.

So we left, and I said "Thanks for your advice" with the air of You have no customers, good luck meeting the rent this month.

Fortunately they built this huge "Big-Box" store in the mall. "Dicks Sporting Goods." It was possibly the 30th shoe store we had visited in two weeks and the first to stock women's hiking shoes. The selection was good, but we had to pay over $100 for appropriate footwear to traipse around Italy next month.

2. This next picture was taken late at night, right after another good rain. We have this unsightly vine running down the side of an oak tree. But once in a while - always late at night - it offers the most spectacular bloom. The flower only lasts a few hours, and it makes me wonder about the purposes of a Creator who puts that much careful design into something that is not even seen unless by accident. I wonder a lot. In fact, I wonder much more than I manage to draw any useful conclusions.

3. Scout's favorite after breakfast activity is a ten-minute game of "tug." This is her just a few minutes ago. If I forget (or try to sneak into my study without playing) she will find me, shove her soggy rope into my hand, and start to pull. She's very good at this game, and has the strength to pull me pretty-much anywhere. Only she lets me win sometimes - just often enough to keep the game going.

I'm sharing these un-profound posts because I'm trying hard to be more balanced in my life. It's great to have and to share spiritual insight... But sometimes the best spiritual insight is to simply live. I've been doing a lot of living this week, and enjoying it immensely.

Love and blessings - DEREK

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