Thursday, February 23, 2006

Duped! By kids! In sneakers! (Sheesh!)

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer and, yes, I probably have been remiss and then some in Following Fads. But still!

Here's the thing. I tromp around alot in the city.

So sneakers are important to me. Walking is important to me. When I walk — and I tend to walk so fast that even the most casual stroll with a companion turns into an argument...

: Would you slow the bleep down???
: (oblivious) So anyway, as I was saying...hey, where'd ya go? ...and so I tend to walk alone.

But I like watching other walkers.

Especially kids. And for the past year now, I've been mesmerized by kids, tiny kids, middle- sized kids, even big kids, doing something remarkable as they walk.


Yes! I've seen them, I've complimented them, I've tried to emulate them. Yes, I've tried to push my toe (right toe, left toe, it doesn't matter) in the way they do, attempting in vain to achieve that absolutely magnificent glide these young walkers — and at such a young age! — have mastered.

To no avail.

No matter how hard I tried (and believe me, I've even tried the maneuver in my own room) I've failed abysmally. And even though I attempted to brush off my failure with a casual "who gives a bleep"...still, it hurt.

I swallowed my pride, time and time again.

Everytime I saw some kid doing his or her masterful glide on sneakers, I'd watch first...furtively, naturally. (After all, I'm An Adult and Therefore Above Such Antics.)
Ultimately, though, I'd succumb.

"How do you
do that???"

My reward for asking varied.

"It's not hard."
"You just need to practice."

"My mom taught me."


"I think the shoes have something to do with it...they gotta be the right shoes."

The right shoes? Me, a connoisseur of walking sneakers? Like I'm not the queen of discernment among the Nike, Reebok, and Adidas lines? Hogwash.

I started to practice on my very large tiled floored kitchen.

And got pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. But...alas...whenever I took my hard-won skills to the pavement? Well, but for the grace of God I didn't end up in the emergency room with a broken leg.
I gave it up. Grudgingly.

Until today.

Today, while walking — briskly and gracefully, thank-you-very-much — three little girls zoomed past me...
gliding! I tried, honest I did, to ignore them, but then they started to swirl — actually swirl — around me! It was too much. Noticing they were accompanied by what seemed to be their parents, I swallowed what was left of my pride and appealed to them.

"Excuse me, please...but how do they do that?"

Fully expecting to be either rebuffed or mocked, or perhaps (worse) politely ignored, I got, instead, a surprise. The mom and dad smiled. And beckoned one of the little girls over to say hello to me.

: "Hi."
: "Hiya."
She: "How are you?" (Polite little minx!)
Me: "Fine, although can I ask you something?"
: (please keep in mind this girl was about 6) "Sure!"
: "How do you glide like that?"
: "Really good."
: (checking exasperation admirably) "Yes, I know...but how? I mean, what's the trick?"
She: (giggling) "Oh! My shoes!"

I'd heard that one before but I never quite got it.

This time, I got it.

The little girl patiently took off one shoe and handed it to me.
The shoe had a wheel on the heel. Sheesh. Okay. For my birthday, I'm asking for Roller Sneakers.

(And for the grace to 'fess up when anybody — if there's anybody in the world left who doesn't know about these sneakers — asks me how I glide!)