August 26, 2014 - 6:59 AM
Two weeks ago, closing the bar for the fourth night in a row, I blew a hole through the sole in my Converse sneakers.
I’ve had them since I was 15, so I wasn’t devastated like I would have been if they were my polka-dot Kate Spade “walking shoes,” but I was disappointed. Those sneakers had snuck out, climbed up, stormed in, stomped out and jumped around. I knew the moment I felt my toe hit the laminate I wasn’t going to be able to throw them away.
I had a pair of cowboy boots that I blew a hole through eight years ago and they’re still buried in my backyard. It’s a problem we don’t talk about.
Anyway, I was looking through my list of things to do in 2014 the other day and noticed one of the items read “throw a pair of shoes over a telephone wire.” While I am aware this is defacing public property, I don’t really consider the habits of punk-ass kids to be beneath me — so I decided on the fate of my Chuck Taylors.
This isn’t the first time I’ve waited for my 20s to do something I should have gotten out of my system a dozen years ago. I waited until I was 24 years old to use a rope swing.
I remember the fears I had — mostly, is the guy I’m with well-versed enough in rope swing technology to know what to do if I accidentally don’t let go? Also, is it really true when you jump from a high height you have to clench your butt cheeks together or you could die?
These are things I certainly wouldn’t be worrying about had I participated in all the rope-swings that punctuated the summers of my childhood, but when you reach a certain age, the how-to becomes crucial and the consequences of things are often thought of before you let go.
The rope swing went well. In fact, I did it a second time and even managed to keep my bathing-suit bottoms on. It was exhilarating — albeit one of those simple pleasures I should have discovered around the same time I learned that if you only use the front brake on your brother’s BMX, you will bite it.
“The way I see it,” he said, “there are a couple different methods you can try....”
We stood there staring up at the wire of choice — me holding my tied-together sneakers and him holding our champagne flutes (because this was a celebration of life, after all).
“You could hold them by the laces and toss them up, hoping the laces catch — or you could just grab the shoes and throw them together hoping they somehow wrap around.”
I pondered this. I wavered on the two choices and looked six times to make sure no one was around. I also worried that my tossing skills would create some sort of explosion if I aimed too poorly and seriously considered asking out loud if I was about to become the cause of a power outage.
One can only stand for so long contemplating an immature and potentially criminal act before either walking the walk or chickening out, though. So, in the end, I just stood under the wire and threw them as hard as I could, directly up, without even looking.
The sneakers — to my delight and surprise — wrapped themselves perfectly around the wire like I had been committing foot felonies since 1992. I screamed, because that’s what you do when you succeed in being completely irresponsible and are trying to divert attention from yourself.
Sometimes we ask the big questions when they aren’t necessary. Occasionally, we get carried away in the what-ifs and the how-tos and the why thoughs.
“What if it doesn’t work out,” we ask before we’ve even tried, the poet Peter McWilliams would have asked.
“Ah, but what if it does.”
— Andria is a twenty-something blogger living in Kamloops with her 100 pairs of heels and 200 paperback Penguin Classics.
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