Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Friday, June 12, 2009

Annual Shoe-shopping Ritual


Ritual – ‘’a detailed method of procedure faithfully or regularly followed’’ (eg, My household chores have become a morning ritual)

I have a quirky ritual – buying my Asics Kayano every year.

About a month or so before a race, I would ‘’suddenly realise’’ that the soles of my shoes have worn out, that I am running out of time (pun not intended) if I didn’t get a new pair early enough to ‘’break them in’’, and would hence start fretting about when I would have the time to go get a new pair.

Then I would go with my colleague (now ex colleague) to Queensway Shopping Centre, at lunch time, to hunt for them. Usually I would have to hold my breath because they would not have my size, or the model I am looking for. Then I would have to go to other shops in the same mall, or place reservations, hoping they would arrive in time for me to break into them before the race. It was convenient to go at lunchtime, as the mall is near our office and only a few bus stops away. And somehow I always asked him to come along, to help me find my way to the mall (yes, I do have bad sense of direction).

Last year, Dani went with me to hunt for the shoes instead of my ex colleague. And it was in the evening. But it was the same anxiety, and the same ‘’reservation’’ ritual.

This year, no one went with me.

Did I experience the same anxiety? Well, yes and no. I worried about when I would finally be able to get away from the office to get to Queensway. Once the date is identified, instead of just dashing to the shop, I rang up the shop from which I bought the shoes last year to enquire if they had my size and the new model. Bingo – they do, and they come in two colours!

So, off I went to get them, after calling my ex colleague to ask him which buses go to the mall. Once there, I saw the fire red pair staring at me. A few years back, I might have taken it, relishing the bright cheery colour. This year, I asked for the muted blue instead, though my heart did say ‘’red, red’’ at one point.

I tried to convince myself that the blue is ‘’easier to match’’, less loud and that of all my Kayano’s I have never had a blue, and that I have already had two reddish pairs recently.

Come to think of it, I must have had this shoe ritual for the past seven years, starting with Kayano 9. This year, I have reached Kayano 15.

Why do people follow rituals? People like familiarity, I think. No matter how routine, or mundane, a routine is comforting, and gives you a sense of regularity and familiarity. Or maybe there is a kind of ‘’sportsman’s superstition’’? I have been running with Kayano for years, I just shudder at the thought of having to run with another brand or model for my race. I sure do not want to have to put the blame on my shoes if I did badly at the race.

I wonder how many more Kayano’s I will be buying as I age. For as long as I can still participate in races? I am now at 15 and counting. I also wonder with whom I will be buying my Kayano 16 next year?

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