The Last Word On Nothing

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Style Pass
2024-06-07 20:30:07

I usually avoid talking to people at the gym. But a few weeks ago, the man next to me had his shoes untied, and I couldn’t help myself. The laces were bright red, and extremely long. He was doing side steps that looked like they had high trip potential. And I was extra-sensitive to falls that day–my mother-in-law had ended up in the hospital after losing her footing in her backyard, and this gentleman looked about the same age, and was approaching his exercises with the same determination I imagined she would.

“Could I tie those for you?” I asked. I felt like I needed to give some sort of explanation. “I tie a lot of shoes,” I said.

He laughed, and thanked me. “You must have kids. I remember that,” he said. “When my son was little, even if I double-knotted them, his shoes always came untied, too. I don’t know how he did it.”

That’s the thing, we don’t even have to do anything. Except move our feet. The very action of running—and also, I’d imagine, skipping, dancing, climbing up on the kitchen counter when you’re not supposed to, sprinting through the library after being told not to, hurtling yourself over the guardrail at Glacier Point—creates enough force on shoelaces to make that sweet little bow you tied fall apart, sometimes in a matter of seconds. (The guardrail thing also creates enough of a squeezing force on a parent’s heart to render them at first speechless, then unable to stop yelling.)

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