These are my daughter’s tennis shoes. They’ve been sitting in the same spot, just like this, for exactly 13 weeks. Why is this a story? you’re asking? They’ve been on top of the dryer, taunting me every time I do the laundry, which is a couple of times a week, for over three months. So no less than 26 taunts and mental jeers. They’re a constant reminder of the stress they caused me and the guilt I feel about them just sitting there. Oh, please. Drama much? Yes, well. There’s that.
This summer, my daughter wore them to do some yard work. They got all muddy and then sat by the back door for weeks. And weeks. So after she went off to college and left them behind, I finally decided I should wash them. For whatever reason, I apparently found myself with nothing better to do with my time. They were, after all, cute shoes, and still in very good condition, sans mud. Nike. Not cheap. But also a year old, and had been replaced by “this year’s model.” And Adidas. Ah-dee-dahs, as we used to call them in high school. I discovered that they’re still called that. I’m not really sure why that makes me smile. Maybe because Adidas has replaced this pair of rudeness.
I took them outside and banged the crap out of them to get as much of the dried mud, leaves, and grass off as I could. I wondered if it was even worth my time to wash them because I wasn’t sure if they were ever going to come clean. My kid loves to step in the mud, rain puddles, snow banks, you name it. Even at 18, it’s like a magnetic attraction. When she was working in the yard this summer, I’m pretty sure she walked in the mud and squished her feet around in it intentionally, trying to see how much she could build up, even when she could have avoided it. It just strikes her as a challenge. A dare, if you will. Good, not-so-clean fun.
Like I do with all tennis shoes when I wash them, I took the shoe laces out. Herein lies the story. And the mistake. Ohhh, had I known. See those little grey things around the eyelets? The devil put them there. I kid you not. Little mind-fuckers. It never occurred to me when I was removing the laces, even though they were difficult to pull through the holes, that what my future held was pure, evil torture. You think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.
I was giddy when I took the shoes out of the washing machine and saw how clean they were. Soap does wonders, no? So I put them on top of the dryer to allow them to dry out for a couple of days before re-lacing them. I was excited just thinking about taking them to my daughter all purdy from my awesome Susie Homemaker skills.
A few days later I found myself with nothing better to do again and opened the laundry room door to lace the shoes “real quick.” Holy crap. Two eyelets in and I was reduced to a little girl. Baffled. Frustrated and confused. Pissed. Off. Those little grey loops undid me. I could not for the life of me figure out (A) how to put this puzzle together, and (B) what purpose they served. (I was convinced that they had served it – giving me an anxiety attack.) These shoes were no longer cute to me. They were the bane of my Susie Homemaker existence and I hated them with a passion. Was this design some joke? Was its very purpose to annoy and mock? I nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to figure out how to put these damn shoes back together. How can this be so hard to comprehend? I didn’t know. But it was. It was like the Rubik’s fucking cube with laces.
It honestly took me several minutes and several tries to figure out the pattern. Aha. Got the pattern. But then, attempting to put the end of the lace through the holes was an all-new challenge. The end of the lace was much bigger than the hole, and trying to jam the little fucker through the hole and the two grey loops resulted in smashing the ends of the plastic tips that keep the end of the shoelace nice and smooth and compact, enabling one to re-lace one’s shoes in a stress-free manner rather than like trying to stick a wet noodle through the eye of a needle. Or eye of the storm, which turned out to be the case here.
After about 20 minutes of this exercise in pure frustration, I slammed the shoes down on top of the dryer and walked away. And there they have sat for 13 weeks.
Whatever man designed these shoes – and I am 100% certain it was a man, because any woman in her right mind would have given the design extra thought as to whether the shoe could be easily re-laced after washing (not to suggest that men never wash their tennis shoes, but even if they do, are they really removing the shoelaces and re-lacing them afterwards??) – should be strung upside down by his toe hairs to think about what he’s done.
So today is the day, my friends. Truth or dare. I’m setting the timer for 10 minutes – and that’s a generous amount of time – to re-lace these disciples of the devil. If it can’t be done in 10 minutes, they’re going into the donation box to let some other poor soul challenge herself with this mind game. More power to her.