For the second spring in a row, my left dress shoe has begun to squeak. I drink a lot of water at the New Cracker Factory, and our Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed office requires I take a nice, long German walk to the water cooler. Here the squeaky shoe comes into play, as I take at least 50-100 steps with my left foot alone on each trip. What do these people in their little pens think as I squeak by yet again? Naturally, to the offender, the offense becomes exaggerated. In reality, the squeak may be nothing more than a faint blip on the inner radar screens of the office population, already crowded with car payments, weekend shopping lists and Thai pornography.
But the squeak bothers me. (Don't I count for something?) All the home remedies I've read about have been useless. I can only guess, given its perennial reappearance, that the squeak is tied to some spring change in humidity, temperature or barometric pressure. Maybe I should throw these clunkers away and get some of those futuro-sock/shoes -- the ones Time Out Chicago readers wear: casual, yet stylish; comfortable, yet expensive. But if I did that, well, that would be a bit like giving in, wouldn't it? After railing against Neil Young and the Talking Heads (see below), could I still call myself a true naysayer? Definitely not.
So, sadly, the squeak must stay -- if I'm to keep face. Perhaps I'll grow -- a little, day by day -- to enjoy disturbing the others working in silence: the squeak of my shoe faint in the distance but growing in volume, now loud, now very loud, now fading , all to resume again in two minutes. Is there not some satisfaction to be gleaned from that on this, the first day of spring?