Sunday, May 13, 2007

Confused about Shoes

One of the things that can divide my wife and me is shoes.

This is not the cliché where the woman has an obsession with new shoes and a couple of cupboards filled with all the styles and colours needed to match any type of outfit. No its me with the problem. The area under our stairs is cluttered with too many pairs of trainers and the mess is a cause of distress.

There are two pairs of off-road shoes (one for trail, one for mud), a pair of lightweights, two road pairs and a couple of pairs that are past their running date but can be used for messing about. Some runners have far more shoes, others have fewer. My attitude is however fairly male in that I see them as tools. I like the idea of tools for specific jobs and I get a sensory pleasure from the feel of something well balanced, that does a job easily and efficiently - like a good kitchen knife.

The problem is I am yet to find a pair of running shoes that give me that pleasure - none of them are perfect. They are good in some areas and not so good in others. Some are perfect for one foot but hurt the other, some feel a bit clumpy, others are not flexible enough, whilst others rub the foot in all the wrong places. All my trainers are OK but I am still searching for a pair I can love. Like some deluded romantic I am longing for something that just right. I know this is illogical but that is how it is.

My wife also knows it is illogical but doesn't see that as an excuse.

I was thinking about this when I was reading 'The paradox of Choice'about why what should make us happier (almost infinite choice) causes anxiety and dissatisfaction. One of the chapters talks about the difference between maximisers and satisficers, between those who always think there is something better and that one has to find the best, and those who are happy when they find something that is good enough and they can make a clean decision. The first group are much more unhappy, living in a perpetual state of anxiety or regret about the choices they make. It can be a form of paralysis, even over the most trivial of things. Have you ever stopped, staring at the supermarket shelves puzzling over which of the 100 shampoos you should buy, whilst also knowing that it did not make a great deal of difference?

The thing is that you are not necessarily one or the other. You can be a maximiser about some things but a satisficer about others. I am a tremendous mixture and usually for the bigger things I am quite clear, for example I almost chose my bike because I like
Max Wall and have been very happy with it. However for running shoes I am a maximiser and that doesn't really do me a great deal of good.


womble said...

Years ago, I rang a local radio station in response to a phone-in thing that was on. I put the case for being a good-enough parent. We don't have to aspire to perfection, good-enough can be what it says.

And now, with children of 16 and 13 who live with their father, not so far from me, I realise perhaps I might be 'good enough'. In recent months both have had a stand-up row with their father, walked out of the house and ended up at mine. I often say exactly what their father has said about a particular situation but in a different way.

There is 'right' and 'right' so often in a situation. Perhaps the same can be said of running shoes. We strive to be the best parent but we just do the best we can.

b-z said...

Only eight pairs???????

thats not as =bad as SOME I know