Old Schools

A guy came over to talk to me. “How long have you been wearing those Old Schools?”

I was sitting at the Japanese noodle place staring at a newspaper. He had a soul patch.

“Excuse me?” I looked down at my clothes for something that someone might call old school. My shirt was fraying in places, but it didn’t seem notable in any other way. Levis are too old to be old school. “My shoes?”

“Yeah, your shoes.”

I shook my head. “Uh, I don’t know. I don’t remember.”

“I work for Vans and we always like ask people a few questions when we see them wearing our shoes. How long have you had them? Six months? A year?”

I thought for another second, dully. “I don’t remember. Six months – A year – That seems about right.”

He hesitated, not sure anymore how to proceed with his marketing pop quiz.

I turned our exchange over in my head, my brain still moving a little slow. I remembered the circumstances in which I’d bought the shoes. That was kind of interesting. “I bought them because all the other tennis shoes in the store looked like they were made for aliens’ feet.”

Aliens feet, this didn’t seem to mean anything to him. “How do you mean?”

“All the other shoes were made of weird pods,” and I gestured trying to conjure up an image of the over-thought ergonomic running shoes I’d looked at, “They had traction pointing in directions that I would never need.”

“Do you skate at all?”

“No.”

He backed toward the door and gently flicked his business card at me. “Thanks. It was nice talking to you.”

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