Friday, February 22, 2008

I Go to the Mall

Thanks to all of you who have either commented or e-mailed me directly wondering if this post was eerily prophetic. Your concern was very sweet. Where would I be without you?

Fortunately, my silence has not been the result of major calamity. I had been meaning to write a follow up entry to my last one. Somehow, though, time always ran out on me. Days slip by quickly when you're faced with a ridiculously full schedule.

On top of that, my body seems to be responding to the cold-winter conditions of Midwestern Funky Town by going into semi-hibernation. While I have always enjoyed my daily sleep, I find myself going to bed early so that I can have solid ten-hour blocks of snoozing. It feels like I submit to a little mini-coma each night.

Perhaps it also has to do with the fact that the six week period between December 31 and February 14 (more or less) is always the worst time of year for me. Usually these are the weeks when I am the most busy and the least happy. This year was certainly not any different.

I wish that I could say that my temporary absence resulted in my finding ultimate Truth and/or my inner light. Alas, I had only two mild conclusions recently. First, I really need more Walter Benjamin for the Never Ending Research Project of Doom. This either means more reading or breaking out the Ouija board and attempting to contact his un-dead spirit. Either way, it’s best that we don’t talk about that part.

My other conclusion is that I am easily manipulated by techno-babble and aggressive sales people. This comes as a bit of surprise given how critical that I am of the media, advertising, academics, and all other forms of discussion. Put me in a mall with somebody working for commission, however, and I am easily moved.

Over the past few years that I have spent at the gym, I have come to recognize the importance of a quality running shoe. Shoes, like tires, are not a purchase where one cuts corners. If you go for the "bargain" in either, expect a blowout.

Given that I refuse to use any other cardio equipment beyond the treadmill, I need to keep replacing my shoes regularly to ensure that I have ample cushioning. Over the past couple of weeks, the telltale signs started showing up that I needed to get myself to the mall. When my knee joints begin to sound like snapping mousetraps as I walk, we know that I need some new shoes.

Before going to the mall, I had already decided to simply replicate the purchase of my last pair of shoes. After all, they had served me well and I put tons of miles on them before they finally gave out. Such noble plans often fail.

The sales associate at the athletic store wasn’t prepared to let me walk out with last year’s model. “Ack, you are still using the ASICS 2110 model? How have you managed?” she asked in feigned horror, “I mean, I could sell that to you again, but there have been some significant changes in runner’s technology since last year.” I liked how she made “technology” to be a possessive of “runner.” Not only is it technology for jogging, but it belongs to runners uniquely.

At first, I held strong and asked her to see if they still had the 2110 model. With a little bit of time, though, I fell to her message. Clearly, what I really needed was the ASICS 2130. See? It’s a whole 20 higher than the 2110!

“The 2130,” she explained, “has a Space Trusstic System™ that creates a pocket between the Trusstic device and the midsole.” Without that system, I could face midsole deformation and loose my foot function. That’s not what I want, is it? To have deformed, functionless midsoles? If I bought the 2110 again, I might as well nail my foot to a piece of plywood and call that a shoe.

The only thing that seems to have really changed between the 2110 and the 2130 is the color, but I was convinced. Such capitulation, however, did not mean that my erstwhile sales associate felt that she had completed her task. No, no.

Had I thought seriously about the quality of my insoles? The 2130 was a good shoe, but those ASICS people cut corners on their insoles. Before my eyes, she disemboweled the 2130 to reveal the “flimsy and inadequate foam insole that they dared to put in such a great shoe.”

In the end, I walked out with shoes $30 more expensive than I planned on spending. Don’t say that GayProf isn’t doing his part for the nation’s economy.

P.S. This is entry 300 at CoG -- Please fawn appropriately.


Oso Raro said...

First Comment! W00t!

Welcome back, GP!

Winter sucks, don't it?!

pacalaga said...

Wow. I must really be dragging the economy down, because at the first hint of a hard sell, I get even more belligerent than I normally am and go to another store where they don't annoy me. I am a salesperson's worst nightmare. That, and the fact that "Trusstic" give me the willies and I wouldn't have bought it in the first place simply because they called it that. I hate shopping. And marketing people. And people in general. Good thing you're GayProf (and hooray for 300 posts) and thus, not hated.

Maria said...

YAY!! you're back. walter benjamin sometimes makes me want to punch him in the face. :P

Anonymous said...

Appropriate fawning.

danny/ink2metal said...

you are truly patriotic in your support of our economy. LOL

i dread having to buy new running shoes because there's no true way to know if they are the shoe until you've run in them at least twice.

so i end up at the outlet stores purchasing at least two pairs in the hopes that one of the pairs does the job.

i hate when my knees make creaking, cracking noises.


i hope the extra 20 is worth the extra 30. LOL

dykewife said...

spring will come soon, i promise. at least it'll be sooner for you than for me :P

i hate it when shoes blow out...that sudden swerve to the side while i'm walking is particularly difficult and dangerous.


Sisyphus said...

Oh, poor dear, all out of Walter Benjamin and no cute neighbors to go visit and borrow a cup or two.

We'd send you a box of theory and sunshine from out here in California but unfortunately it's raining at the moment. And you already have been to the Arcades.

Surely Benjamin wrote some articles on shoes that you could use.

Anonymous said...

Will there be 300 Spartans in leather thongs to celebrate your third-hundredth post?

csdenton said...

Good to see you back!

I take pride in the fact that I spend ridiculously little on shoes, but it is balanced out by the obscene amounts I throw into my DVD collection.

tornwordo said...

I'm glad to see your absence was nothing serious. Here's the trick I found. Pay for the custom insoles (I've got three sets)and then use any old shoe you want. That's what I've been doing the last 8 years.

300? good on you.

Margaret said...

I've missed you, GayProf!

And, I also wear Asics, and just bought a new pair. And we drive the same car. Are we the same person?

Cooper said...

Welcome home! I'm glad you're okay. Will you buy the 2150 (with anti-gravity device) when you celebrate 600 posts?

lost in france said...

I guess you are doing your thing for the economy -- retail sales-wise -- but aren't those shoes Japanese?

Hope the winter there isn't too severe! If not, try out the shoes in the Arb for me!

bardelf said...

(bardelf quickly hides his $25 pair of Converse high tops under the computer table, so gayprof cannot see how cheap this viewer is). Ahem.

Glad to see you're back, gayprof. The fact that you spend so much time on the treadmill (wearing great running shoes) allows me to fantasize that you have very sexy, muscular legs.

Clio Bluestocking said...

Hibernation. I know. I mean, I REALLY know. In fact, I'm about to take a nap right now.

Marlan said...

Your essay brings about a curious question. Do running shoes wear out when used on an elliptical machine? How about a stepper?

And as far as 300 Spartans showing up to celebrate? Surely not at Midwestern Funky U, but you may find that this single Spartan will cheer for you.

Charles CĂ©leste Hutchins said...


Laverne said...

yea... the sun shines again (well, metaphorically you know...) when gayprof posts.

I've never owned a pair of running shoes in my life. Wow. I always buy the Ryka cross trainer. They're supposed to be made just for female feet.

Running. ew.

Marius said...

300 posts! Yay! Congratulations! Anyway, we all missed you, Gayprof. And welcome back.

Alan said...

Beware of all enterprises that require special shoes.

OK, Thoreau didn't say that, but he would have, had he ever walked into a Footlocker. :)

dpaste said...


Tonight we post in Hell!!!!

I'm with pacalaga, at the slightest hint of hard sell, I turn and walk the other way.

vuboq said...

did someone mention naps? i second the motion!

i bought new running shoes in the Fall, but since I only run outside, I haven't worn them in several months and can't remember what brand they are. I'm sure they are superduperextraeverything+ (because the salesguy was supercute).

Congrats on 300 Posts.

Alan Scott said...

Welcome back, GayProf!

You didn't mention what the new color was, but my guess it is brown from all that bulls**t she was shoveling out.

Next stop, Outerwear for a pair of rubber waders.


Jen said...

I agree with your shoes/tires comparison. We used to get folks into the ski shop I worked at who would shell out for top of the line bindings and skis then hand over these totally crap boots that they'd been wearing for 20 years. Horrible. It's possible to have a great day skiing on crappy skis as long as your feet are happy. Same is true of hiking boots and back packs--as long as they fit you are a happy camper (well, not you gay prof), the rest is icing.

I was going to *fawn* over 300, but someone is selling 320 over on another blog...

Earl Cootie said...

I used to burn through about one pair of shoes per year. But now that I'm older and prone to aches everywhere, I have to replace my boots every six months. Fortunately, last season's Colemans are always on sale at Big 5 for $40.

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