This is one of those posts that was "suggested" I write, although I did not see why anyone would care about my shoes or my shoe dilemma. Yes, I am known for my shoes – in particular, my stiletto heels. In fact, when Red and I taught at KIPP Houston High School, the students would text about my shoes within minutes of me arriving on campus. (Red would always ask them, doing her version of sarcasm, why they did not do the same for her "comfy" shoes and boots.)
When we did a speaking engagement about personal finance at Silsbee High School, my shoes became a topic of discussion during the Q&A session. (Red was so amused that she included it as Story #2 in her Memory Lane post titled "The Road To Silsbee. To Where?!") I will admit I was impressed by how astute the students were to question how I could talk about "Thinking Before Spending" yet stand in front of them wearing shoes with red soles that they guessed cost hundreds of dollars. (I never disclosed their exact price, but the students were online pricing Christian Louboutin shoes.)
Luckily, none of the students have ever asked how many pairs of shoes I owned. I could not compete with the thousands of pairs Imelda Marcos had, but I did own (past tense) hundreds of pairs that I had collected over the years. No, make that decades. I enjoyed the collecting as much as the wearing, and would even buy shoes as souvenirs when I traveled.
My logic, not that I needed any, was that fashion and shoe styles repeat themselves over the years. Plus, classic shoes (from pumps to driving shoes) never seem to go out of style. So, I would carefully store the shoes (and boots) in clear plastic shoe boxes (I lost count of how many cases of shoe boxes I have bought from The Container Store), and every season go down to my storage unit in the basement of my high-rise to shop my "collection" and decide what would "move up" into my closet. Of course, I would add a few new pairs each season. Usually black, because black never goes out of style.
So, what was my dilemma? Which pair to wear? I wish. No, I had to run out and buy a pair of shoes for a date. And, it soon became apparent it was about more than a pair of shoes,
- I had not gone out on a "date" in years, as I do not count dinners out with friends as dates, and I typically wear "dressy" jeans or slacks since we do not dress up. I never wear a dress.
- Although I once had a collection of fabulous dressy high-heel summer sandals, they floated away when Hurricane Harvey flooded the basement of my high-rise. I know all of them did not drown as some were found in the building's garage when the water finally receded, and I can only hope those hundreds of shoes found good homes.
- The pandemic has changed women's attraction to high heels, so when I stopped by Saks to buy a pair of high heeled black sandals, what in the past would have been easy to do, was more like a scavenger hunt as the shoe department was filled with sneakers (!!!) and casual shoes.
I still wonder why I am writing this … other than Red finds the whole situation amusing. But, sometimes, I feel like my life is her entertainment. The other person who suggested I write this post was my date (he did appreciate the effort I put forth to "dust off" a dress and find a pair of date shoes), as he thought my story about the "concept" of wearing a dress on a date and dating post-pandemic was something that a lot of people can relate to right now. Plus, he thought my predicament was, and I quote, "Funny shit!" I guess he, too, finds my life entertaining. Hmmm, maybe I should also dust off our idea for a Red & Black sitcom …
Quick! Define literacy (without Google or Siri's help). Ok, finished? We bet that you may have stopped at the ability to read and write. Which, technically, isn't wrong. It just isn't completely right, either. Which is what Red found out when she discovered, much to her surprise, that it includes such critical areas as financial, digital, and health literacy.
Red even admitted to Black that she didn't understand all those terms, although she had another concern … was Black going to use her as a poster child for her lack of literacy skills in this month's column, "RED & BLACK … A Blueprint For Life?!"
P.S. – This month's column is in honor of September being Adult & Family Literacy Month.
Want to read other columns? Here's a list.
|I can't believe how quickly the year's flying by. And that tomorrow's already the fall equinox.|
|I cannot believe that you know that but did not know when Rosh Hashanah fell this year.|
|I got the dates mixed up. And I'll admit I had to look up the fall equinox date because it also varies slightly from year to year.|
|Technically, the equinox is not a day, but rather an exact moment – when the Sun crosses the Equator.|
|Picky, picky, picky. But if I remember correctly, although science class was decades ago, on the equinox, we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime.|
|Not exactly, but close enough. But, why are we even talking about this?|
|Because it marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall.|
|Only on the calendar. We live in Texas, so if you use temperature as a guide, fall weather is at least a month away. And, if you are waiting for foliage season, you will have to head north as it does not happen in Houston. Or, settle for some spectacular photos.|
|That's one of the things I miss most, but I love everything about fall – from the early morning "chill" in the air to pumpkin spice lattes (well, really, pumpkin "everything" these days) to the fall holidays. Especially Thanksgiving.|
|OK, but you have always referred to that as the "silly season". That once Halloween arrives, it is full speed ahead until just after the New Year.|
|Thanks a lot. I was thinking about how it's my favorite time of year, and you had to remind me that it goes by way too quickly.|
|So, maybe forget about the Sun and the Equator, and use the fall equinox as a "reminder" to try to stop and enjoy … not only the official beginning of fall but the entire "silly season".|
Initially, I just chalked this up to being "old" and accepting the fact I remember telephones before they were "smart" (and will admit they can make me feel "less-than-smart"). I am old enough to remember rotary dial phones (see the image above) where you had to place a finger in the hole associated with the number, then rotate the dial round to the end-stop and let the dial return under its own power. I will not go into the science behind it, but it was extremely reliable – although very hard on your manicure.
But, this is not about the history of telephones or the associated technology that has improved to the point computers that once required a large, air-conditioned room can now fit in your back pocket or handbag. This is not about us all (regardless of age) needing to be digitally literate. It is not about the fact the older we are, the larger the screen size we prefer, although we might claim it is a function of what we are used to versus admitting to declining vision as we age.
Rather, this is about a recent experience that first made me feel old. Then roll my eyes. And then open my eyes to an opportunity.
I was on the phone (a cordless landline – not a rotary dial or even a phone tethered by wires) with a customer service representative from a high-end designer company. We were discussing an order, and he said they would keep me updated. However, they could not do it via email (my preferred method of communication) but would text me using the phone number associated with my order and that he saw on Caller ID. I said that the number would not accept text messages as it was a landline, but they could leave a voice message.
Apparently, that totally confused the rep, as he repeatedly said he did not understand why they could not text me. And, I kept repeating, almost like it was a mantra, "because it is a landline." Finally, he admitted that he had no idea what a "landline" was … and I started to suggest he find someone "older" to explain it. But, then realized this was my opportunity to explain it to him.
I explained the difference between mobile phones and landlines, but also suggested he discuss the situation with his supervisor as the company sold very expensive consumer goods, and I would think many customers were older and might be using landlines. Surprisingly, he was interested in my perspective and admitted to never having thought about it. And then, he thanked me for taking the time to explain it versus just complaining. (As a customer service rep, I would guess almost all his conversations were complaints – not actual conversations).
There is so much for us to learn and share when it comes to technology and how we communicate. Some people prefer emails while others can only be reached by text; some want phone calls while others can only be reached with a "chat" feature. Regardless, our ways of communicating can be used to divide us – or unite us.
I will admit that I can be confused when confronted with new technology if you will admit that you can be confused when confronted with old technology.