Peace In A Tin Can

Peace In A Tin Can

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Flip Flops and the Downfall of Society

I love shoes.  Being the oddball that I am, I don't love shoes for the fashion statement they make, as many women do.  I love shoes because I can't stand to be barefooted.  As soon as I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is grab my shoes - not slippers - from beside my bed and put them on before my feet ever hit the floor.  I do not politely ask people to remove their shoes before coming into my home, and avoid other people's homes so I don't have to remove mine.  I have shoes on every moment of the day.  Friends find it strange that I, who like walking on the shores of the Great Lakes and embraces a more natural way of living, do not like to walk without shoes.  They sometimes try to analyze why, delving into my eccentric psyche and seeking a Freudian answer to this conundrum.  Some decide it's because I exhibit strong symptoms of being obsessive-compulsive (which I am), others think I had a childhood of city living that left me with a deep aversion to dirty walking surfaces (which it did, but that's part of the OCD).  Still others say, "Oh, I've heard of people like you, who don't like feet.  It's a phobia".  Nope.  As a matter of fact, my compulsion to always have good, solid shoes on my feet comes from my phobia of things without feet.  I wear shoes because of the snakes.

Courtesy of Google Images
So it is with much relief that I can declare this day, when it's 46 degrees outside and pouring rain, that flip flop season is officially over for 2012.  I have issues with flip flops, the first being that they are not really shoes and offer no protection whatsoever from things that move without feet.  Mostly, though, it's because I blame flip flops for the downfall of society.  Think about it. Have you ever seen someone actually accomplish something when wearing flip flops?  You can't walk with purpose when wearing a shoe that will flip off if you walk too fast.  You can't hammer a nail (safely) or chop wood wearing flip flops.  You can't go to a meeting, effectively ride a bike, go for a run, or hike in the woods wearing flip flops.  I see people shuffling through life wearing flip flops, and they look lazy, unhurried, and unmotivated.  It's not that I judge people based on what they are wearing, it's just that flip flops reflect a desire to move slowly, slouch, and stop to smell the roses, as long as the thorns aren't too low to the ground.  Flip flops offer no protection for thorns either.  Flip flops induce laziness, and right now our society cannot foster new ways to embrace laziness.  Therefore, you will never see me wearing flip flops, and you may see me on the news staging a political protest against the manufacture of flip flops.




Merrell.com Clog
Merrell.com Slide
To that end, I am spending these days packing up my Merrells in the tin can for my upcoming trip to Michigan's U.P.  I love my Merrells.  In the summer, I like their sturdy slip on sandal, which offers good arch support and fits snug enough to stay on even when walking with purpose, but are still comfortable.  Now that summer is over, I am pulling out the clogs.  Merrell clogs are an excellent and versatile shoe for Fall, at home in the city and in the woods.  Since I intend to stalk a bear - not a particular bear, just any black bear - while I am in the U.P., I need a comfortable shoe that can wade in the shallow water, fall softly in the woods, keep my feet warm, and allow me to be sure footed.    My Merrell clogs allow all of that, with waterproof rubber soles and leather uppers.  Having researched methods for finding and watching a black bear, I feel confident that I have chosen the right shoes.

Courtesy Google Images
Last week I stopped in at Schupbachs, our local sporting goods store in downtown Jackson, to pick up some supplies for this trip. I like going there, because when you walk into the store, the hardwood floors bounce under your feet.  The wood is old and warped, from years of leaks in the roof and probably some general decay in the sub floor, not to mention the typical settling of an ancient brick building, though I prefer not to think of the building shifting while I am there.  It must only shift at night when no one is around. I was talking to an old-timer, a little old man who has worked at Schupbachs longer than I've been alive, about bear stalking, and he gave me some good advice.  Judging from the number of taxidermied black, brown, and polar bear strategically placed about the store, not to mention the other large and small game, I'm guessing the old guy knows what he is talking about. You can't turn around in Schupbach's without being confronted by a full-bodied wild animal, claws reaching out and teeth bared.  It's a little scary.  I swear the mountain lion's eyes moved when I walked by.  Anyway, the old man told me that black bear are scared of dogs.  Any dog, even a little Chihuahua.  So if I am seriously looking for a bear, I should not take my Newfoundland, Rooney, with me, but if I am relaxing by the campfire at night and not alert to the woods around me, I should most definitely have the dog at my side.  Good to know.  Even though Rooney can't wear Merrells, he is not lazy and will defend me to the end.






Courtesy Google Images
Merrell.com
If you think about it (and trust me, I have) a good dog is like a good pair of shoes.  Both are supportive, comforting, and dependable.  Like Rooney, my Merrells accompany me on every camping trip, and it is with great enthusiasm that I spent the last two weeks preparing for this trip.  I cleaned out every closet in my house and held a garage sale to raise the money for gas and firewood.  I switched my warm-weather clothes for my cold-weather clothes, and dug out the Merrell clogs.  I "raked" Rooney every day for thirty minutes.  He's still hairy.  My house is clean, my lawn is mowed, and I am packing up the tin can otherwise known as Twinkie with blankets, camp chairs, and food.  Propane tanks are full, tire pressure has been checked, walking stick is waiting by the door.  I am ready, and on Wednesday, I will be returning to Paradise, Michigan and the Tahquamenon Falls.  Lake Superior is calling to me, let's just hope the gales of November don't come early.  I will be walking on the paths in my clogs, hiking the woods in my Merrell boots, and leaving a trail of Rooney's hair to find my way back home.  I will not be wearing flip flops, and my days will have purpose.
Courtesy Google Images