Thursday, December 08, 2011

My Last Pair of Boat Shoes

I tend to track the fading away and retirement of various articles of my clothing, here on the blog, since, somehow, they always manage to breach the line of what is bloggable, in my universe. That, and I've pretty well managed to maintain a cartoon character's consistency of warddrobe for the last, say, 12 years, that calls for noting these passings as they happen. And this one, actually, is a pretty big one, to me.

I've been wearing (Dexter brand) boat shoes (aka docksiders, aka boat moccasins, aka loafers) as a primary foot covering since at least my junior year of high school, and probably earlier than that. This choice, like many aspects of my fashion, arose from my taking of a pair of such shoes from my father. At some point in High School, I even spray-painted an older pair of them gold, as an homage to that one fast runner guy that did the same thing in the olympics.

New pairs were always easy to come by, even after my feet got bigger than my dad's, thanks to a conveniently located (Dexter brand) shoe outlet store on the way to Fourth Lake in the Adirondacks that affored a Theodore Dreiserian luxury to my middle-class shoe affordings.

Other than a brief phasing-out of these shoes during my bad-back-having days scattered through my late teens, they remained a pretty consistent part of the ol' t-shirt & work pants warddrobe. But, at some point, the (Dexter brand) boat shoes stopped getting made, and the stores up in the A'dacks became generic shoe outlets. So I was left with a pair of what would be my last boat shoes. This being further complimented by certain life choices that have pushed my fairly strict vegetarianism into outright veganity this past year (so, like, no more leather shoes).

My Last Pair of Boat Shoes, as you can imagine, started to take a pretty severe beating, and were falling apart at the seams and wearing through at the soles. A last ditch effort was made in Georgia, before heading to Thailand, to get them repaired, which led to a semi-good-ol'-boy-network-facilitated caper to find a shoe repair guy that was up to the job and willing to do it fast. The outcome was maybe a little less than inspiring, but I at least managed to have some fresh traction-having-pieces installed to the soles:

Signs of repair/disrepair

But then came September (I'm drastically behind on blogging, I admit), and the tail-end of Thailand's rainy season. My Last Pair of Boat Shoes suffered a life-threatening injury, of some funky-ass mold growing up in them, after I unthinkingly left them sitting outside for a weekend. It doesn't take much, but behold the fatal blows they took:

Gross. Just gross.

Gross, up close.

So, there you have it. Until (if) I'm okay with buying new leather thing again, no more boat shoes. It's a bigger end of an era than any given t-shirt retirement, I think.


Anonymous Dad said...

I treated my copies of those same shoes the same way I do tennis shoes: as one pair got old, a new one was added and the older one was repurposed.

Since Dexter has stopped making the shoes, that strategy obviously doesn't work anymore. The two active pairs of shoes maintain their same relative position--both are scungier than they used to be--but the newer ones still look newer.

Imagine my delight this past weekend when I was rooting through the further reaches of my closet & found a third completely forgotten pair. These were obviously bunged up enough not to be the best pair back when a new best pair was readily obtained. But now, having just hung out in the closet while the others were used, I have a new pair of best boat shoes. Whoo-hoo!

And having now realized the length of this comment, I'm compelled to reflect that boat shoe wierdness is hereditary: you get it from your child.

12/09/2011 9:56 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

Yeah, I think we probably enhanced the devotion to boat shoes in each other. As I recall, the other three of your children were also treated to boat shoes at some point, but they never quite got it the way we did.

I also know that I once tried a pair of (Bass brand) boat shoes, and they just weren't the same at all, like, not even enough to try and fake it with.

I also once had a pair of (Dexter brand) them re-soled, and that also wasn't the same.

Maybe someday I'll find a pair of vegan (faux-leather) ones that'll make the grade, but for now I'm in (bootleg) rubber moccasins.

12/10/2011 2:03 AM  

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