It’s tax season again, and as always, the job of getting things in order sent me traveling back in time, wandering through the last 12 months. It’s an annoying task, off course, but it’s also weirdly revealing. Collecting all the business of the past year has a way of dredging up things I’d forgotten.
What happened to those shoes?
It may feel like quite a leap from receipts to footwear, but it was that kind of year around here. In 2022 I sold a house and bought a condo, a tsunami of dates covered just two pages on my calendar. Between April and June I prepared one house for showing, sold it, toured a dozen condos, found and bought one, packed up the first house and moved to the new one.
I wrote a column about moving day, how after the final trip from the old place to the new, I collapsed onto the mattress on the floor (the movers had to saw the bed frame apart to extract it from the room), fully clothed. I woke the next morning still wearing my shoes, baseball cap and glasses, and all the lights were still on.
A day at a time, I retrieved my life from boxes. At first my office things and then my kitchen things. Those first days I got by with what I’d packed in a suitcase: some jeans, a few T-shirts and sneakers. The rest of it I rolled out over the next few weeks, starting with summer things. The sweaters and boots could wait.
For the rest of the year, much of my life waited in boxes in the garage. Each time I went out there, I was reminded not only that I had more sorting to do, but also of that universal truth that most of us can get by with far less than we think we need.
I ended up poking through those boxes this week, to find the receipts from the sale of my house. In my search, I came upon a box of shoes, which leads me to the point of all of this.
There in that blue plastic bin were my sandals and my cycling shoes, my strappy silver sandals and my red cowboy boots. And then, egged on by a vague memory, I started digging further.
Where were the black cloggy things? The ones with the thick soles and the adjustable back strap. The ones that my larger left foot would slide into no matter how puffy it was. The shoes that seemed impervious to rain or snow or time or scuffs. I’d owned them for at least eight years and they still looked good enough to wear with a dressy outfit.
So a’digging I went, through other bins. As my searching accelerated, I became increasingly agitated. What had happened to those shoes?
Funny, though, that for the better part of a year, I’d not thought about them, nor had I even to planned to wear them. It wasn’t until I went looking for other things that I felt the pang of losing them. I hadn’t really needed them.
I did find the tax stuff, though, in a large box with the receipts from materials used in renovation projects, a tangle of white paper jammed like fallen leaves into the bin. That was fun to organize for taxes.
But what happened to those shoes? Knowing me, and knowing how 2022 was, I wouldn’t be surprised if those clogs are at the bottom of a box of sweaters, or photo albums, waiting there for me to come looking. If I ever feel the need.
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