Last night I bought some hiking boots that are JUST LIKE my old favorite hiking boots — same brand, same design — that I ultimately had to retire. I had replaced the soles at least three times. There was no leather left for another time. I left them behind in Zürich and discovered trail running shoes.
But last night I got an advertisement from Merrell, the company that made my old boots. They still make the same boots (some changes) and I noticed they were half price. For some mysterious reason that I do not understand I bought them. I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was attempt to cancel the order. I mean, seriously?
No luck. They’re already being shipped. That’s absurdly efficient. The service person at Merrell is waiving the return fee so I will have the chance to put them on once and send them back. I don’t need such robust boots at this moment of my life. Or do I? What if I DO make the transition to snow shoes? There’s no reason I couldn’t wear these.
Do we all have objects that are emblematic of not just things we’ve done and moments in our lives, but of who we ARE?
I was also thinking how as young people we think older people are “done” in the sense that it’s time to take the turkey out of the oven. The older people just hang out for our convenience until they die, meanwhile we’re evolved into some other kid’s old person. Sometimes I see something someone has written about the loss of their parent and almost invariably they say things like “I don’t know how I’ll carry on without my dad. He was always there for me.” I would have said the same thing — and probably did — when I lost my dad. So many of the people we know are really just our idea of who they are. That, I realize, is my problem with the little family up the alley that I love but am currently giving a wide berth. I’m not who they imagine me to be. That is exactly how we end up disappointed in other people. We think they’ve let us down when we just imagined them as someone they never were.
We also have ideas of who we are ourselves are, and, it seems, my idea of myself includes these boots. I know that just in this past year I’ve gone through a lot of changes, and I’ve experienced little epiphanies of self-discovery and self-knowledge. I think many of us have. I guess I like to think of myself as Women’s Wilderness Legend, Waterproof.