It was time for a new pair of sneakers. Being an avid walker, I go through a couple of pairs a year. Lately though, buying sneakers has become a tad more complicated.
Until I had a knee issue, my sneaker-buying scenario went something like this: Upon entering a shoe store, I immediately flagged down a sales associate and requested walking sneakers. Within a few minutes, I was usually shown a pair that fit. I paid the bill and bada bing, bada boom, done.
Oh, well. That was then. Back to now.
I did my homework online and headed to a sporting goods store. Upon entering said store, I felt a wave of dizziness. Jeez! Sneakers everywhere. I wandered up and down the aisles until I found the much-touted brand that, according to my research, was the state-of-the-art. Yikes! There was a plethora of boxes neatly stacked on the shelves. To make the choice easier (?), charts were posted next to each style giving the particulars: support, less support, cushioned, toning, flexible, etc. (Way too much information!)
As I was rummaging through my purse for reading glasses, a sales associate wearing a Rugby shirt and — what else?— sneakers asked, “Need help?”
He smiled and asked, “What brand of sneakers do you wear?”
My brain flashed to the beat-up pair on my closet floor.
His smile faded and he gave me a quizzical look. “Not sure? Well, umm … no problem.”
As he began pulling boxes from the shelves, my mind reached back to a time when I could buy sneakers at the supermarket. They could be found in a bin somewhere between the meat and vegetables. The sales associate broke my reverie by placing several boxes at my feet.
I feigned interest as he carefully pointed out the differences between each sneaker. Following his technical jargon was impossible, and I soon became weary of the whole sneaker thing. Finally, after trying on numerous pairs, I hit upon a pair that felt good.
“These are great,” I said. “I feel like I’m walking on air.”
The sales associate rewarded me with big smile and asked, “Do you need workout clothes?”
I giggled inwardly. My workout clothes consist of Frank’s sweatshirt which, owing to the difference in our heights, is more like a sweat-dress. I usually just put on a pair of worn sweats (my son Jeff’s castoffs), a Yankee baseball cap (mine) and sunglasses. I shun makeup, save for sunscreen. This is quite a departure from the self that I show to the world.
I followed the young man to the clothing section and spotted some outfits that were colorful, to say the least. I threw caution to the wind and purchased a purple outfit, complete with a matching headband.
The next morning, I donned my new gear and applied makeup.
Frank was drinking his coffee and asked, “Where are you going in that, umm, get-up?”
He gave me a slow once-over and said, “Nobody will recognize you.”
One of the high points of walking is meeting the many friendly folks, cats and dogs — OK, one dog is not so friendly.
That morning, I waved to the regulars, but didn’t receive the usual “Hiya” back. The unfriendly dog, who normally barked on cue when I passed, was silent; the kitty scampered away; and one gal asked, “That you, Ceil?”
Despite not being recognized, there was a newfound bounce in my step. I was convinced that my new sneakers surpassed any others I had ever worn.
I was still on a sneaker high when I returned home and changed into jeans. I picked up my old sneakers from the closet floor and was about to trash them, until I noticed the brand name. I turned them over and examined them very carefully.
The chuckle in my throat turned into a big belly laugh. Lordy, lordy! They were identical to the sneakers I had just bought.
Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.