When it comes to travel, sensible and comfortable shoes are a must. For me, this means traveling anywhere, even if it’s just across the room. So, you’ll only find me in shoes that feel like they’re not even there. A couple of years ago now, Philippe and I were shopping at one of those big shoe outlets. These are the stores that feel like you’re walking into a massive library of shoes, with more boxes on display than shoes themselves. The prices can be rather amazing, but the selection can leave a bit to be desired. If you like a particular style, you had also better like the color that it comes in. Once, while out shopping, I found a pair of tennis shoes that I’ve doodlewashed here, and I was immediately hooked. Noticing my euphoria, Philippe came over to see what I had discovered. He then decided to try on a pair in his size, and was hooked as well. The conundrum, of course, was that they were the exact same shoe. Looking inside the shoebox, we noticed a second pair of laces in gray and agreed that one of us would have to use those laces in order to make the shoes look different. So, we excitedly bought our new sneakers without first agreeing on who had to wear the dull gray laces.
Since Philippe usually wears any old shoe and most are rather drab in color, I assumed he would prefer the gray laces. After trying them on, however, it was clear, that wasn’t going to be an option. The color was odd and made the already grayish blue shoe look alarmingly sad. It was a bit like wearing the restless spirit of shoes that had recently died. We were now faced with the unfortunate circumstance of owning matching shoes. Next, we agreed, that was just fine, we would simply never wear them at the same time. Since it’s enough to just dress and make ourselves presentable in the morning, we don’t really discuss much then. So, more than once when we were about to leave for work, when we would notice that we were wearing matching shoes. The look that we shared was not one born out of unconditional love in those moments, but simply a blank stare full of challenge. One of us had to switch, but the question remained as to which one would it be? And, it was most often me, since Philippe argued that I owned more shoes and therefore had more options. So, after wearing them around the house a few times, they eventually sat on the floor instead. I figured I would get my chance once Philippe grew tired of his pair and switched to something else.
When the chance finally came, I’d already fallen in love with other sneakers and so this pair now sits forlornly in the corner. I noticed them today and realized they had never been allowed a trip to Paris or indeed been on a visit to the zoo. I felt a bit sorry for these shoes suddenly whose only crime had been becoming too popular. And in the process, they’d become much less extraordinary. I’ve seen Philippe wear them hundreds of times now so they’re just not quite as unique. This was indeed the first and last time we ever made the mistake of purchasing matching footwear. In many ways, though, it’s a comfort to know the person you love, loves the same things. It’s indeed this very connection that brought us together in the first place. Yet, shoes, like glasses, are a defining feature. One meant to illustrate our own unique differences not spotlight the similarities. But seeing these shoes always makes me smile. They played in a central role in reminding me I was definitely with the right person. Tastes are a terribly fickle thing, but when you find the one who can agree with yours, it’s a brilliant moment indeed. So, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart when I remember this tale of yellow shoelaces.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!