Installment #9

It was February 8, 2004, right before my move to New York, that I made a road trip to go visit my mom and my sister in West Virginia. I was traveling down route 36 in Coshocton County Ohio towards I77 and I spotted a SHOE on the side of the road… I got so excited! I started traveling with a camera in preparation for the next shoe I might spot ever since spotting that ladies brown clog a few weeks back. I pulled over and headed back in the other direction of the divided highway, turned around again and drove slowly until I came upon the shoe, pulling off on the shoulder just before it. I grabbed my camera and then froze, I couldn’t move! The thoughts of having strangers stare at me while I took a picture of a lone shoe on the side of the road terrified me. This was a busy four-lane highway, the chances of there being a window of opportunity where there were no cars was slim to none. I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw a police car coming up behind which only added to my anxiety. “Oh my god, what am I going to tell him” I thought as I pretended to be fumbling with something in the passenger seat as he slowly drove by; he didn’t stop to my dismay. I sat there struggling with my fears and watching cars pass by, hoping for a minute of time when there were no cars in sight. I finally mustered up the courage… I grabbed my camera, jumped out of my car and took the fastest three photos of that shoe; I don’t even know if I even bothered to focus the camera. I jumped back in my car where I felt safe and protected, I was sweating and my legs felt like Jell-O. Back on the road and on route I replayed the whole scenario in my head over and over, repeating to myself “you’re never gonna be able to do this, you’re never gonna be able to do this”. I decided that having strangers stare at me while doing something odd was well out of my comfort zone. As I drove onto the I77 entrance ramp the image of the shoe I just took a picture of popped into my head; so bold and so vividly, it was as if the shoe was speaking to me… “Just Do It!”, the shoe shouted. I gasped and then calmness settled in, yes, I thought, I just have to do it. If someone would’ve asked me to describe that shoe I probably would’ve said it was a white sneaker; I was so nervous and took those three pictures so fast that I really don’t think I would’ve been able to recall any details, so it was strange when that image popped into my head. I was using a film camera back then so there was no pushing a button and getting a look at the pictures I had just taken to verify anything; I would have to wait until that roll of film was all used up before being able to confirm the make of the shoe. A couple of weeks and one more shoe sighting later I anxiously opened the freshly developed photos… That shoe looked nothing like what I thought I remembered but it was, in fact, a Nike!


The visionary Nike shoe.


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