“A Shoe Obfuscation”


Eschew muddy feet

My Shimano MPsomethingorother model shoes (circa 1991) served me eighteen years, with  a major kick at the finish: the  4,200  mile transcontinental 42 below ride. In that last couple of months, they served as raggedy,peep-toe cleats that punished me with  damp for every ‘dab’.

I decided to take them (and myself) out for a ride. My horrible flu was abating; the sulfa drugz were doing their job.

I needed to see if I had any fiber left in my noodle-y legs and goop-clogged lungs.

So up the road I went, knowing that sundown’s at five nowadays.  I had some stuff to drop off at Joe Breeze’s house–a note for the kid, and some floral tisane (Osmanthus fragrans flowers) for Connie B, my sister-doppelganger.
Having a mission helps me complete a ride.

The last three times I’ve been up “Bo-Fax” road, I’ve turned around at the first opportunity, which is the Meddow Golph Club. It felt like a defeat each time, since I’d hoped to do my very favorite ride: Pine Mountain.
But sometimes your legs (or your mind) say “no!”.

These days, I obey that voice.
I  seem unable to ignore signals that I’m tired or just don’t feel like a real ride.

But since I’d packed a news clipping  for the younger Breeze concerning the Farmville craze, plus  a sachet of cool tea–flowers for the missus, I had a great excuse not to die, not to give up.

And to make it more fun, I dropped into a long–forgotten shortcut that puts me at their doorstep within an hour or so…a cool ridge line run with magnificent vistas and no people for miles and miles around. Just chaparral–sharp pants-perforating branches, tight turns navigated using mental sonar, and the occasional wren–tit registering surprise at the intrusion.

Down in  Fairfax town, Joe was home. I handed him the tea (and a careful descripton of the Latin name of the plant)  and showed off my old “sandals”.

“I wore a pair for about as many years” Joe said, adding: “Hey,  what size do you wear? ”


“I have some shoes that are too small for me…”

And he brought forth a pair of 1993 shoes, the next generation after mine; three straps instead of two,  yellow and blue, rather than subdued orange, gray and blue.

I put them on, he pressed down on the big toe, like a regular shoe salesman. “They seem to fit just fine”  he observed. “I think they might just be a really small pair of forty-ones.”

“Can I throw mine away here?”

“Sure, just leave them there on top of the trash can.”
For about the first time in a decade, I hurled a pair of truly worn-out shoes, and thanked Joe for his generous gift.
I I can’t think of a better person than you to get these.” Joe said kindly.

And off I rode, no wind on my toes, into the twilight of Dogbark Lane.

~ by jacquiephelan on November 4, 2009.

2 Responses to ““A Shoe Obfuscation””

  1. Great story! Nothing like a free pair of shoes…..

  2. This one made me smile.

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