Listening to leather tongues

My universe is expanding again. I learned a lot this past week, and all from a new pair of cowboy boots and the dancing I did in them. I wore them for the first time on Wednesday for square dancing. One of my fellow dancers knows a lot about boots, and he told me that the kind I bought are real cowgirl boots, the kind you’d wear for roping a steer and driving it down into the dirt. They have greater ankle support than other types of boots because you need stability to do that, and the little flaps which I thought were merely decorative are to keep the dirt out when you are doing the roping. They’re called kilties. One pair of boots with two very different purposes—the possibilities of the world are endless.

The boots got their second outing on Friday. I danced for about six hours that night on and off, and by the end of the evening my feet still did not hurt. No throbs were issuing from my usually unstable ankles. Not only did the boots help me to glide more smoothly and stomp my heels with greater authority, they also helped to protect my feet. I always blame my body when I get all stiff and sore, and I realized that part of the problem was not wearing the correct shoes. I’ll try not to blame myself in the future.

Dancing taught me a third lesson that night. Several people told me I need to ask more people to dance so that I’ll get more practice. I have trouble asking—people tend to dance with the people they came with, and I never ask the really good people because I figure they want to dance only with others who know all the fancy steps. That seems to be mainly in my head—I make too many assumptions. I think too much. Next week I’m going to ask people without doing so much analysis first. This coming weekend is the hoedown, and if I’m a little bit more assertive I should get tons of practice. The boots have been great teachers so far, and I their humble student. I can’t wait to see what further lessons they will bring.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

83. What are some lessons you’ve learned from the world around you this week? Share them with someone else.


Mine are black

Today I want to talk about boots. Boots are one of those things that most people don’t think about very often. You pull them on, you pull them off. It starts snowing and you grab for them to keep your feet warm. Unless you’re a shoe fiend who lusts for a new pair of thigh-highs or lace-ups, you may not think about boots very often at all. 

I am not a shoe fiend. I can’t afford to be, but more to the point, my feet do not cooperate with most footwear. I have wide flat feet and muscular calves. I have trouble finding regular shoes, and snow boots are hard to come by. Luckily, in Seattle, I no longer need them.

This weekend I went out to buy cowboy boots for all the country dancing I’ve been doing. I needed their ankle support, their slippery bottoms, and their solid heels. A girl wants to make a proper stomp while she’s line dancing, and it’s much easier to glide and spin in the proper soles.

I turned myself over to the capable guidance of Renton Western Wear. I explained what I wanted the boots for, and what some of the issues might be with the fit. Then I started to try on boots. It was such a surprise! You know those loops on the sides of cowboy boots? I found out what those are for. Those are to put the hooks into. Hooks, you ask? Yes, hooks. You take a handled hook into each hand, slip it through the boot loops and yank your boot on. Want the boots off? There’s equipment for that, too. You place one foot on an angled board and hook your heel into an indent. Voila—you are ready to yank your boot off.

I ended up buying a much simpler pair. They come up to mid-calf and lace all the way there. No tools are required, and they’ve got a lovely heel and suitably slippery bottom. I’ll dance a lot of miles in these shoes, but more than that, I’ll always have the memory of buying them. I’ll never look at those little boot loops the same way again. I am now a person who notices boots. All this in one morning—it was a very productive trip.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

78. Find out about something you’ve never encountered. Ask a friend about an unusual hobby or visit a factory to see how something is made. Does it change your perspective on things?