Fall’s Mission: Mars
The streets will only stay dry and clean for so long.
There’s a sad reality that comes with living in western Canada at this time of year.
That reality is that summer is dunzo.
The mercury has taken a hit over the last few weeks (it’s 11C or 51F as I write this). The leaves are yellowing and some of them are already falling off of the trees. Early mornings greet you with a harsh chill in the air and significant moisture on your windshield. As the days progress, the AC has been traded in my car for the defrost. The heat dial straddles the red and blue, riding contently (for now) in the white section. There’s no denying, though, that something extremely unpleasant lingers.
At this point, for my own sanity, I’m not talking about winter. My thoughts lie with my sneakers and how some of them are making their final appearances for the year. There were some fun pickups, like a perforated all-white Air Force 1 that I managed to get for half price. There’s an all-green AF1 that melted my heart the second I saw it. Obviously, sneaks like these can’t be tied into crunching the snow at my feet in freezing January temperatures.
A quick side: One of my worst sneaker memories ever came in the winter. I was driving, snow was piled like a foot high everywhere and it was warm, which made for slushy and messy conditions. I’m rounding a corner and just happen to notice that some fool-ass kid in high school is standing outside in a fresh pair of Zoom 95s. All these years later I still cringe when I think about it.
In an effort to avoid that horrible scene playing out in my own life, when winter comes, my best and most loved sneakers go into hibernation. What kills me at this time of the year is that I know the clock is ticking. I’ll be lucky to get through October without snow and even if I do, the longer this thing plays out, the wetter and uglier it gets outside.
Since 2006, this time of year has made me think of one shoe in particular: The Air Jordan IV Mars.
I loved the Mars IV the second I saw them online, months before they were set to release. I was in Vancouver for the Steve Nash charity game the weekend that they dropped and I was fully prepared to pay the extra BC sales tax on them, just to make sure they didn’t pass me by. The relief I felt when I finally got the shoes home, I can only imagine, is the relief that parents feel when they welcome a newborn into the fold. OK, maybe that’s a tad dramatic, but you guys know what I mean. These were my first — actually the only — Jordan IVs I’d ever own. Adding them to the mix was a pivotal day in my sneaker-loving life.
Since that day, I think I’ve worn those shoes five times. It’s not that I stopped loving them. I have go-to shoes for certain types of weather. Other shoes to match shirts, jackets, sweaters, whatever. Somehow, the Mars IV slipped into the background. It now shares a similar role in my life with the unwatched season of Band of Brothers that my brother gave me. I’m sure it’s great, but I just keep forgetting I have it. And one day, I tell myself, I will watch it.
And with every fall that comes far too early here, I think of those Mars IVs in my closet and I promise myself that they’ll get some extensive shine before their hibernation time comes. This year, I’m committing to it: This is the year to take action. The temperature is slated to stay the same for the rest of this week: Cool, partly cloudy, but no rain. This is nature’s two-minute warning. Today when I got home, I dug through my closet, took the toe protectors out of the shoes and placed them by the front door.
Most people reading this are in better weather situations than I am, so consider this a warning well in advance. Think about those shoes in your closet that are perpetual victims of your neglect. Wear them before it’s too late. There’s nothing worse than coming across a gem in your closet in the middle of January and knowing you’ll have to wait months before they can see the light of day.