Thursday, October 22, 2009

On new things...

What is it about new, shiny "things?" When I get a new pair of running shoes, the leather so white, the mesh nylon so taut and reflective, the pattern of the sole so uniform, clean, and fresh smelling, I imagine I'll keep them that way for months, that this pair will be different than the dozens of pairs of tennis shoes I've owned in the past that invariably end up dog-eared, grass-stained and smelling of cooked onions and wet dog. For the first few days wearing them, I walk gingerly, avoid taking steps too fast, and make sure to keep the laces tied and out of footfall range. But then one day I'll find myself late to class, or a doctor's appointment and in my hurry to be on time I'll trip over a curb, or stumble on a step, or kick a rock and smudge, tear, scuff, or otherwise defile my new shoes. For a moment I'll look at my new shoes, no longer perfect and shiny, and feel sad and frustrated that I can't seem to keep anything new for longer than a week, and I'll wonder if other people have the same problem.

And the next day, I'll wear those shoes to mow the lawn.

It's like a New Years resolution to exercise every day, or the month I tried to go without chocolate--everything goes great for a while, but then something happens--I forget to exercise or someone brings donuts into the office, and I slip a little, and then there doesn't seem to be a point anymore in holding out. Pretty soon I'm hanging laundry from the treadmill and eating a donuts and candy bars between trips to Wendy's for lunch and dinner.

Except with things it's different. With a diet or an exercise routine, there's always a chance, however small, that I might keep it up. But stuff will always wear out, eventually. No matter how hard I try, my new shoes will always get scuffed, spaghetti will always splatter on my new white shirt, my watch will eventually get lost, and my car--my brand new (to me!) 2002 dodge caravan with only 25,000 miles on it that some grandma drove to and from knitting school for seven years before trading it in for a Dodge Charger--will eventually get rear-ended while I'm driving through Albuquerque on the way to my brother's wedding and the new paint on the back door will splinter and flake off and the exposed steel will begin to rust and the door will no longer shut quite right so that even when I slam it as hard as I can, it still wiggles back and forth when I drive, and when that happens I will have to decide that "stuff' doesn't really matter, that as long as my shoes lace up and my car still goes down the road when I press the gas, I should be thankful for what I've got--especially when the other driver had insurance.


Sarah said...

lol. Our new (to us) Honda Odyssey has had a similar fate. When I confessed to Jon I had accientally backed in to the side of the garage door (new garage, new van - new dimensions!), he laughed and said that same day he had slipped on ice and hit the front bumper on the median. sigh. Now, a year and about a zillion cheerios later, our van has definitely lost it's "new" feeling. But it has carried us through some GREAT family memories! :)

Alyssa said...

Oh I am so sad for your car! Shoes on the other hand...the key there I've discovered is to buy the trendy brown ones-- mine are three years old and still look great. :)

But you are right... stuff doesn't matter. I realized that for myself when my first wedding ring took up residence at the bottom of Lake Sammamish. Its all good.

Dave said...

Well done, sir. I hope school's going well. Miss ya up here at Putnam Square!