Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sneakers, Cars, and Clothing

Sneakers and cars are things I have to purchase periodically, but I’m getting annoyed lately at the choices available when I shop for them. So is my wife. She needed a new car last fall and we started looking around. I had bought a pickup recently, but it had been several years since either of us looked at cars. “Why do all the new sneakers and cars look like they come from outer space?” she asked.

They do. We eventually bought a year-old, silver-colored Subaru Forester. It looks like an oversized bicycle helmet - the kind real bike nuts wear - those guys all bent down close to their handlebars in their florescent spandex outfits. But then, so does nearly every other make and model of car we checked out. It’s hard to tell them apart, but at least her new car blends in with the others on the road.

Last fall I decided to start using my legs more while they still work, so I sprinted down the road in front of my house in an old pair of sneakers. Though I was running as fast as I could and it felt like sprinting, anyone watching might have described it as jogging. Whatever it was, my wife said I shouldn’t be running like that in my old sneakers. She insisted I needed running shoes or I might hurt my feet. Because so many other parts of my body hurt, I didn’t notice my feet that much until I’d been doing it for a couple of weeks. So I went over to the outlet stores in North Conway to look for running shoes and the first thing I noticed was that there was no such thing as cheap. The least expensive pair cost $45 and there were no plain-looking ones either. They all looked like multicolored bicycle helmets too.

I bought the least expensive pair. They provide cushioning for my feet and they’re well-engineered with good structural support. They’re light and well-ventilated. They’re great in every other way, but I’m embarrassed to wear them in public. I don’t want to look like Spider Man or like I’m trying out for the Olympic team - I just want to run as comfortably as possible. I don’t wear any special running clothes - no spandex, no warm-up pants - I go in whatever I’m wearing that day. Usually that’s an old pair of Dickies pants or shorts and a T-shirt in the hot weather. That’s another reason space-age running sneakers look stupid on me. I dress plainly and then I have these things on my feet. I haven’t worn them at night yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they glowed in the dark.

And while I’m on the subject, I don’t like it when manufacturers put their names and corporate symbols all over their clothing. It says “Reebok” in four places on my spacey sneakers, not counting the logos. I don’t like to be an unpaid walking billboard for the company. People must like all the labels because companies wouldn’t put out T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts emblazoned with their names if people didn’t want them. What’s up with all that? Status? Fashion? I don’t know.

My Dickies pants are made of strong fabric that holds up well and looks acceptable (by my standards) for more than two years before it starts to get tattered. Pretty good for twenty bucks. They also make flannel-lined khakis for winter which I love because with them I don’t need long underwear. They’re both excellent products, but I remove the sewn-on labels as soon as I get them home.

I buy Carhartt “work/dry” T-shirts and polo shirts because they’re comfortable, durable, shed perspiration well, and they all come with breast pockets for my pen and pencil, which I especially like. They’re not cheap at about twenty and thirty dollars respectively, but they’re worth the money. When I get home though, I take the labels off them too. For a year, I can wear them to school, to church, and places like that, and then I can wear them kicking around town for another year or two before they start ripping. After that I can use them for painting, cutting wood, weed-whacking, and such things. By the time I’m done with them, neither the Salvation Army nor Goodwill want them.

That’s the way it is with my old sneakers, cars, or trucks too. When I’m done with them, they’re not much good to anyone else. Then I have to go shopping again.


Anonymous said...

Well Tom hate to tell you this but if you stand back and look, all of the above is still a culture war.

Tom McLaughlin said...

I don't get it. How so?

DAWN said...

I miss my subaru. We just sold ours and it sounds exactly what you just bought. I loved it.

As far as running shoes go, your wife is right. You need to have a good pair of shoes. Remember your feet are absorbing the weight of your body as you run, so a good cushioning shoe is essential.

It's really an inexpensive sport if you think about it. All you need is a good pair of shoes and you can take them on the road anywhere. They are usually good for about 500 miles so logging your mileage would be a good idea and only wear them when you run otherwise you're defeating the purpose of having a good shoe for running.

I buy two pairs a year. Many date their shoes with a marker to remember when they bought them.

Anonymous said...

Don't look at culture beyond Lovell, Maine. It is still a war keeping up with yourself.

Anonymous said...

Cars and running shoes a culture war? Mr. Anonymous sounds like he's got unfounded issues. Give it a rest, mon. Relax. Sing. Dance. Love people.

Show Low Yaqui

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I could never figure why I would pay to advertise for a company. If they want me to wear their stuff, pay me!


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