The Power of New Shoes

A week or two after we’d returned from our holiday in Maryland, I spoke with my parents on the phone. Dad was fully recovered from his GI issues, and he was feeling much better. I was happy to hear a lighter mood in his voice even. On that particular day, they had just returned from a shopping trip, where dad purchased a new pair of sneakers. My parents are going on a cruise in a few months, so dad was on the hunt for comfy sneakers. Apparently, they’d never been to a Dick’s Sporting Goods, so Dad spent the next 15 minutes telling me about his latest bargain!

“Have you ever heard of the brand ‘Saucony?’ Those sneakers cost $109!!! And I saw Nikes for $160!! So expensive! But I found a pair of Sauconys on sale for $59. Mommy said the color didn’t look good, but I tried them on, and the shoes are so comfortable! I don’t care how they look as long as they’re comfortable. And for $59, I just couldn’t resist!”

Do you see how I really am my father’s daughter? Meanwhile, when I tried to get details about the questionable colors, I realized we were talking neon green. There’s a term in Chinese for women who used to sell beetlenuts in brightly-lit roadside booths. A few years back, this was one of the raunchiest things about Taiwan… beetlenuts could probably be likened to chewing tobacco, but anyway, these clear glass booths were super obnoxious with scantily clad women (girls) inside selling the goods. So people call those women, “la mei,” which means hot (as in spicy) little sister. So mom was telling me that dad’s new sneaks are like in the style of “la ge” (spicy big brother). Was she telling me dad’s new shoes were pimp shoes? I dunno, but it sounded so ridiculous. I have yet to know the exact model he purchased, but a search on Google reveals something as “spicy” as this, or something as subdued as this. Either way, this is a fashion disaster, especially considering that my father only wears dress slacks– even while vacationing. He does not own khakis or jeans or chinos. That shit is way too casual for him. Always slacks. I mean, as a kid, he’d take us to the local tennis courts, and he would play with us while dressed in his suit and tie. Granted, he was “on call,” but this is the level of formality I grew up with, which also explains why my parents hate that I wear jeans. I mean, I’m glad he’ll be able to walk a ton in those cushy sneaks, but I really might have to stage a fashion intervention. If anything, he’s going to stick out like a major tourist!

The good thing about all this craziness? Sometimes retail therapy does go a long way. I mean, all this renewed optimism and excitement– just from a pair of “spicy brother” shoes!

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