Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, July 18

Gapers Block

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"What you could do is ask your dad for half your birthday money in advance so you could buy both a pair of Rainbows and a pair of Reefs in California."

A pair of John Fluevogs on sale (for $49) in Chicago, and I was finally pushed from being a basically barefoot person into a shoe person, or, at least, a semi-shoe person. It's not that I now know everything about shoes or anything, just that I really appreciate a good pair. I became a shoe horse, whatever that means, but it at least means that your ears perk up when the young black man on the subway whispers to his friend that he wants "Flues" just like yours. Well, maybe anyone's ears would perk up when they heard that, maybe it would make anyone feel like they were a shoe person, but anyway.


Fig1. The Fluevogs are the shoes to be had.

My path from being a barefoot person to being a shoe person began two years ago at Thanksgiving. Over the holiday, my mother bought me four pairs of shoes on a rather accidental spending spree: a pair of New Balance running shoes to save my ankles, a pair of suede workaday shoes, and two pairs of zoris as my mother called them (this, supposedly, was what thongs or flip-flops were originally called in Southern California).

My personality at the time could have been divided along the lines of the differences in style between the two pairs of zoris. The Rainbows were originally meant to function as my highclass-going-out-to-dinner-zoris, if there was such a thing. Well, there was such a thing in California, even in Northern California. They were supposed to represent the fact that I had a real job (you always have to add sort-of after that) and that sometimes I went out to dinner at restaurants that wanted more than Converse (even though Converse had been good enough for my grandfather, whom I had never met, to play basketball in L.A.). They represented the fact that I had a white button-down, long-sleeved shirt which was not stained and could be ironed. On the other hand, I also got a pair of Reefs which showed everyone that I was still a beach person at heart and at hand. That is, I still felt romantic when I saw that bronze statue of a surfer on the Santa Cruz coast.


Fig2. Zoris, aka flip-flops.

In truth, the "Flues" were a second choice shoe. What I really had my eye on was a pair of Campers that were sold in the University City Loop. The problem was that they cost $129. I was not quite enough of a shoe person to spend $129 on a pair of Campers, at least not yet. This was way too much for a pair of shoes that I would actually wear, but not at all too much for me to stare at each time I met my friend for coffee in that part of town.

So, we were going to California for spring break and I could have asked my dad for zori money, but I decided that I just really couldn't explain it to him, so I wouldn't try. I would just leave my shoes on my feet. Maybe I would indebt myself to my feet but either way, I would be walking.


About the Author(s)

Francis Raven is editorial assistant at the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. Broken Boulder press recently published two of his chapbooks: "Notestalk" and "Notationing."�He has been published in Mudlark, Beehive, Free Fall, Gestalten, Untitled, The In Posse Review, Fulcrum, The East Village, Pavement Saw, The New Colonist, and, among others.

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