If I have to look at another pair of Jordans or any other limited quantity sneaker, I think I will cry. The boys at work drool over the latest new sneaker. They know the names and looks and colors of every pair ever spit out by marketing geniuses of athletic shoes. The boys revere the shoes as some sort of Holy Grail to coolness. Realness. Legit. As if by wearing the shoes on their feet, they morph into Jordan. They stand in his greatness. Swoosh as one with the athletic legend. They fight to be first in line when the next shoe comes out. Some folks have died waiting for the shoes. As in got shot by another excited consumer not wanting to stand in line like everyone else, so BOOM goes the gun. These same folks would not die for their country but they die for shoes.
Some folks snap up the limited shoes and sell them on eBay for a large profit.
Once, Jeff parked his car in front of the store. The back seat of the car was full of sneakers. He opened the trunk and sneakers filled the space like sleeping bees in a hive. Shoes were everywhere. And Jeff was the queen bee, buzzing and buzzing about the greatness and history of each sneaker.
“But you only have two feet,” I say.
“I wear all of these shoes. I have more stored at my parents’ house. I can’t fit them all at my girlfriend’s apartment.”
“How much money have you spent over the years on these shoes?”
“Thousands of dollars. Don’t look at me like that. You spend money on things you like. I buy sneakers.”
“I spend money on a mortgage or a car. You could afford a house with the money you spend on shoes.”
Jeff lived with his parents.
Then Terrell speaks up.
“My room is full of Jordans. It’s like art. My prize possessions.”
“But Terrell, You could buy a car with the money you spend on Jordans. You could get your driver’s license and buy a car. You wouldn’t have to depend on the metro. You could enjoy freedom. Get out of DC when you need fresh air.”
‘Nah, Mama D. You don’t understand. Got to look good on the street. Represent. Ain’t nobody see your shoes when you be drivin’ in a car.”
“Exactly. But they see your car. You could get your pimped up classic and smoke a cigar while driving up and down M street.”
“I’ll get that. It be happenin. But I’ll be drivin with my sneaks.”
“I’m glad I’m not your mother. I would sell all your shoes and open a savings account for you. That, or have a giant bonfire with the shoes.”
“Whatever, Mama D. What would you buy if you had extra money?”
“That’s easy. I would buy paintings.”
“Paintings are expensive. But you like them. We like our shoes. So there.”
“The only paintings I own are the ones I painted. And paintings are not like shoes. Please!”
“Mama D, you should paint shoes! That’s what you should do. Can you imagine having a painting of your favorite Jordans? Word.”
“Word,” I say.