I finally parted with my old Nikes today. We’d been a happy little threesome for an ungodly seven years, which is an eternity in sporting footwear terms, which of course illustrates my appalling level of inactivity.
My Nikes were the first pair of shoes I ever paid for myself. I got them in the Autumn of 1994, when I was in Year 11 in high school. My previous pair had met an unfortunate death, known in my family as The Muddy Shoe Incident (MSI).
The MSI occurred one rainy afternoon after school. My mother is a teacher, and I was waiting in her classroom while she finished her staff meeting, so I could sponge a lift home. But she was taking her sweet time and my stomach was gurgling in protest, so I wandered over the supermarket for some chocolate.
I was on the return trip, happily guzzling a Milky Bar when I fell down the hole. Well, only half of me fell. Suddenly I found myself sprawled out on the wet ground on my left knee, while my left leg was buried up to my thigh in a muddy hole. Some workmen had been in the area earlier, fixing underground phone cables, and mustn’t have filled up one of the holes properly.
So there I was, half-buried in 3 feet of muddy water and random muck. My first reaction was to look around furtively for witnesses, and when I realised there wasn’t any, I burst into laughter.
I attempted to remove my leg. But the mud was a stubborn little bastard, and when I pulled my leg up, it gripped on to me and started sucking my sexy trackpants down. I yelped in horror, thinking my undies would be exposed to the world, so I yoinked up my pants and tumbled to the ground.
My undies remained unseen, but my shoe had been sucked off my foot and into the muddy abyss with a lovely squelchy schhhhhhhhllllloooop! sound.
So I stood there on the pavement on one foot, peering down at the hole and after deciding my shoe was not worth the rescue effort, hopped my way across the road back to Mum’s classroom.
Hop hop hop, I went, one leg coated thickly in mud up to the mid-thigh like a giant chocolate bar. Hop hop hop.
Needless to say, I had to buy some new shoes. I tolerated two days of wearing mum’s ultra-sexy Apple Pie’s before forking out $100 of my hard-earning part time job at KFC money, for the Nikes.
I treated them lovingly, and was most weary of any dodgy looking ground. We went through a lot together over the next seven years. They would carry my unathletic little body as quickly as possible as I ran home from the bus stop, screaming as savage magpies swooped me.
They survived three years of part-time work in a takeaway shop where I splattered boiling oil and fish batter on them, and frequently tripped over on the greasy floor and landing on my arse because the tread on the soles had worn away.
Sure, they ended up looking a bit shoddy. The leather was rough and patchy and the laces sagged pathetically like they just didn’t give a damn anymore. The swoosh motif became more of a half-hearted little smudge. And the letters had worn away so it looked more like IKE, as if Mr. Turner had released a range of sportswear.
But I kept wearing them, thinking someone as unsporty as moi didn’t really need a new pair. And I could put up with their odd little scent.
It took my recent spectacular debut at the gym to realise it was time to move on. The lack of tread on the soles saw me fly into the air and nearly land face first on the treadmill. As I am not fond of the taste of rubber, I forked out for a nice new pair of inoffensive (but very clean) pair of blue Adidas.
I kept the old Nikes here in my desk drawer at work for awhile, unsure if I should keep them for pottering about in the garden. But when I realised today that my weed jungle does not constitute a garden to potter in, I turfed them into the bin.
So goodbye my old boys, nestled there amongst the orange peels, yoghurt pots and dead pens. You served me well.