These Shoes

I’m a shoe junkie.

Jardin D Fleur

Like most girls, I love shoes. They are one of my many hedonistic pleasures, though I can’t explain why. I don’t actually wear shoes, unless absolutely necessary. But, when necessary, I have a vast array of really awesome shoes to wear, but, again, hopefully, only as briefly as possible. And as a “vast array” is, still, not nearly enough, I always have a way to justify the purchase of another pair! Any excuse I can muster will find me shopping for shoes.

These shoes have their own story.

Jardin D Fleur

I was in Fairbanks, Alaska, for work. I was training members of a CPA firm on the finer points of a software program used to organize electronic work papers and trial balance data. Thrills, I know, but someone’s gotta do it, and hey, it got me to Alaska! I’d never been to Alaska!

I worked with the firm for three days. The third day was a “workshop” day where my students would put their newly learned skills to work”, under my supervision, and begin converting actual client files into our software. Ideally, this is done from a conference room and I just run around the table, helping folks out. Which is exhausting. Unfortunately, this conference room did not have the necessary network access, so, my students would all be working in their individual offices and I’d be running up and down the halls. But, as their offices were situated in a three story building, I’d be running up and down stairways and hallways. I’d packed only very cute, but very impractical heels,  and hideously inappropriate, but unbelievably comfortable  flats for traveling and scuffing about after work.

Left with no other choice, I headed to the only bastion of shoe possibility in a place like Fairbanks, Alaska; the Famous Footwear in the “new” strip mall, home to a  Barnes & Noble, complete with a quasi-Starbucks within,  and a Sportsman’s Warehouse. And a Wal-Mart, I think, I may have blocked that sad fact from my mind. As luck would have it, FF was having a BOGOHO sale, but aren’t they always? Yes, they are, which is why we shoe mongers will occasionally set foot within, DSW being, of course, a real shoe whore’s paradise. Next to Zappos.

I found the most amazing pair of black flats, Fergalicious “Lyrics”, with big flowers adorning each shoe, fashioned out of a black zipper. I fell immediately in lust and was so grateful to find my size among the boxes crammed in the shelf beneath the display. Those shoes (likely another story) were the best shoes ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. I still have them, though they are well past being presentable in either appearance or in odor.


So, I bought the Fergie shoes, my BO, so I still had my GOHO to go! Ho! I perused the aisles of shoes. This was no DSW. And this was Fairbanks, Alaska. So, I didn’t have as many choices as I may have had at a DSW in my home town in Northern California. I wouldn’t let that stop me, though. Id get my GOHO!

I cruised the aisles for a while. Up. Down. Up. Down. Nothing struck me, but after those Fergie shoes, what could? I came upon an end cap display of Van’s, on sale for 40% off. And I’d get them for HO of that! They were practically going to pay me to take these shoes! Part canvas, part faux suede, black with white soles and “Van’s” in red, on the heel. And my size, too. It was settled. I had tennies, but a girl can always use another pair of tennies. Besides, mine were all Converse, I had no Van’s. None. Until now. I worried how I’d fit all this into my single carry on, but I’d deal with that later. No self-respecting shoe whore passes up a BOGOHO and a 40% off pair of shoes.

The next day, my Fergie shoes performed comfortably all day. Up the stairs, down the hall, down the stairs, up the hall. After, likely, miles of walking, I felt deserving of a really good dinner. I’d exhausted all of the best dining options in Fairbanks, there aren’t many. I’d heard of a brewery outside of town a few miles, I’d heard the food, and beer,  were good. I headed there, me, myself, and my Fergie shoes. It was a Wednesday night, I could tell you the date, easily, but will refrain. The restaurant was crowded, and, as a single diner, the bar was offered as a “no wait” option. I’ve no problem with this. I enjoyed salmon, again, for dinner, acknowledging that this would likely be the last time I’d desire salmon for some time to follow. When in Rome. I capped off my entrée with a stout and a local ice cream maker’s beer flavored ice cream. Mmmmmm.


The large bar had a few patrons, though not nearly all the stools were occupied. This meant familiars could find a seat adjacent to one another and strangers had ample room to separate themselves by a seat, or so. A shape appeared and took the bar stool immediately next to me. I have no familiars in Fairbanks, Alaska and have by now, an hour and a half past the fact, even forgotten the name of the firm I’d been working for all week, let alone any of the students’ names. This man was most definitely not one of my students. I’m self assured and have no problem carrying on a conversation with most any willing party. A conversation ensued, following his opening observation, “You’re not from around here, are you?” We spoke of California, wine, Alaska, beer, and other topics. I mentioned I was there on business and would be flying home the next afternoon. “Ever been on an air boat?” the man asked. I’m sure I hadn’t, because, in all honesty,  I wasn’t quite sure what an air boat was. I was intrigued. So, the next day, after some solo sightseeing, and before my flight home, I went for an air boat ride, and thank goodness for the BOGOHO and the 40% off Van’s! Fergie would’ve hated it, though I loved it, the air boat ride.


I stayed in touch with the bar stool occupant for a period of time. A friendship grew, and eventually, a relationship, a love affair. We traveled the thousands of miles back and forth, for two and a half years, until the time apart and the  distance between became too much. For those two and a half years, these shoes lived in a closet, thirty miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska.

These shoes traveled back to Alaska when I did, and there they stayed, even after I returned home to California. With every visit to Alaska, these shoes saw some kind of adventure, whether air boating, walking on the squishy tundra, canoeing, four-wheeling (riding quads), hunting, fishing, going on road trips to Valdez, hiking, shooting, these shoes were the footwear of choice. Had they been fur-lined, they’d have gone ice fishing,  snow machining (snow mobiling), and on road trips to Prudhoe Bay, too.


When the love affair, the relationship ended, these shoes were there, in the closet, thirty miles north of Fairbanks. And I was heartbroken in California. I missed my shoes, among other things. A text was sent, “Please send my shoes, and my (faux) fur lined boots, and my destroyed Lucky Brand jeans.”


A week later, my shoes (boots and jeans) and I were reunited, in California, courtesy of USPS Flat Rate service. After all, if it fits, it ships. These shoes live here, now, in Northern California, with me. The occupant of the bar stool and I are back where we started, we are the very best of friends.  I am grateful for both of these facts, the shoes, the friend. Today, the first California adventure for these shoes, a solo kayaking/fishing excursion. It felt good to be reunited. It felt better to share another adventure with these shoes.

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