Running shoes

So yesterday I bought running shoes.

No one told me how complicated it would be.

Years and years ago—back in college—I once went along with my friend John to buy him some running shoes.  He talked a lot about pronation and supination before we went, but I knew that he had his mind on Saucony.

When we got to the shop, some Randy-Mac girl (who was cute as a button!) was helping him.  And she was wearing one of those post-Flashdance ripped-up sweatshirts (without a bra), and as she was bending over to fit his shoes I was thinking about anything but pronation and supination.  I was thinking that she had the most beautiful breasts I had ever seen, and how they were hanging oh-so-nicely, and how if she had ripped her sweatshirt just a wee bit more I could see her nipples.  I don’t know what John was thinking.  But I don’t think he was thinking about pronation or supination, either.

But yesterday there were no Randy-Mac girls in sight.

Instead there was some woman who looked angry and was waiting for combat.

She asked if she could help.

I said I was looking for shoes that were “günstig”.

Now, by günstig I meant (obviously!) that I was looking for a bargain.

But she would have none of that nonsense.

She said, “by günstig do you mean ‘cheap’ or ‘good’?”

I suppose a brief digression about the German language is in order.  The word günstig means something like “advantageous”.  So when someone is looking for a price advantage, they are looking for something günstig.  Of course, what I myself meant was cheap.

I said, “I mean inexpensive”.

She said, “because what is günstig in price may not be günstig for your feet.

I said, “OK, let’s look at it this way.  If price were not an issue, what shoes would you recommend?”

She said, “Sit down.  We need to look at your feet.  We need to analyze the way you run.  How much do you run?”

I said, “I don’t run at all.  I’m planning to start.”

She called for her colleague to help me, and abandoned me.

The colleague came and asked, “How much do you run?”

I said, “I don’t run at all.  I’m planning to start.”

She looked like she wanted to abandon me, but carried on.

She had a lisp.

That’s not relevant to the story.  It’s just a colorful detail.

She told me to take off my shoes, roll up my pants legs, and hop onto the treadmill.

She asked, “have you ever been on a treadmill?”

I said that I hadn’t.

She carried on.

I got onto the treadmill, and she started it up and made it go way  too fast.  I think that was to get me to start running instead of walking.  But then she left, and I found myself in an awkward position.  First, although the pace was too fast for walking, it was a bit too slow for running.  Also, I was leaning forward and hanging onto the hand rails, which she had told me I wasn’t supposed to do.  “Just touch them lightly, if at all.”  And all of this matters, because she complained that I had been too far back on the treadmill.  So I did it again.

Then we looked at photos of me running.  She analyzed them in complete seriousness, and suggested a different shoe.

Let’s go back a bit.  The shoes I was wearing were WAY COOL.  They were black and white with florescent, lime-green laces and soles.  I looked like I was ready for the olympics.  I would have been proud wearing those shoes.

But she wouldn’t have that.  I needed more arch support, because my left foot slightly pronated towards the toe on the uptake of my foot from the treadmill.

So she got a nearly identical shoe—same brand, same price–but black and white with florescent, lemon-yellow laces and soles.  They make me look like a Pittsburgh Steelers or Borussia Dortmund fan.  Neither of which is a particularly bad thing to be, but it’s not my style to flash my sport-fandom-associations while running.  Not that I am all that familiar with running, since I haven’t started yet.

But she sold me the shoes, and she didn’t even have to rip up her sweatshirt.  Here they are:




Now all I have to do is start running.

Tomorrow, maybe?


I’m in love

OK, it’s strange to post something like this.  But I feel compelled to do it.  I’m in love.  I feel the need to “out” myself.

Go back six months or so.  I felt lonely, depressed, desperate.

I did something very, very, very, very strange for me.  (Can I insert another “very” and still pass the Strunk and White test?)  I signed up to an online dating service.  It made me feel like I was out of my mind.  But in my despair, I did it.

Within the first few days, I realized it was a stupid decision.  I simply couldn’t relate to all the “is he the right one?” messages that people were posting, and I myself had only received two or three messages of interest.  Or non-interest, if we want to be precise.

OK, let’s be precise.  I got three messages.  One from a woman who said, “you sound nice, but you are too far away.”  Another from a woman who said, “I’m too pretty for you.”  And a third just sent me sexy pictures.

I wrote back to the woman who said I was nice but too far away.

She wrote back.  I wrote back.  She wrote back.  I wrote back.  I suggested we meet.  We met.  We loved.

And we have been loving ever since.