Friday, February 19, 2010

Years with Rohmer

 Rohmer fresh out of the box, circa 2003

I found Rohmer inside our old shoe cabinet, gathering dust for what seemed like years. It didn’t take me too long to find it and when I did, I was instantly hit by a wave of nostalgia. People, here’s my trusty pair of sneakers for six years. Now, he's just a raggedy old thing.

When I was younger, I had this romantic thing going with movies and had developed a penchant for naming shoes after my favorite filmmakers. This pair I named after Eric Rohmer, the French New Wave director. Rohmer is a pair of black Shooter ’78 LOs I bought with my very first paycheck. Not counting the leather shoes I wore all throughout college and some rubber shoes my parents bought for me, Rohmer is technically my Shoe Number 001.

I bought Rohmer on a day in August 2003. I will not forget the first time I caught a glimpse of him from a shop window-- it was like a scene from a religious movie. (Cue ray of light shining through dark clouds! Cue the hallelujah chorus!) It was love at first sight.

I thought he was absolutely neat. The shoes fit perfectly and they were light on my feet. I could sleep in them at night and jump straight into my day the next morning. Rohmer also blends well with the anti-trend personality I was trying to adopt in my early twenties. He looked like something worn by someone who doesn’t give a damn.

Thus began my six-year love affair with Rohmer.

We were inseparable. He was my shoe of choice for road trips and mountain treks. We went out dancing on Saturday nights and jogging on Sunday mornings. I can remember the countless times some gum got stuck on his sole and I had to put him in the freezer overnight so I could remove it. He got stepped on, spat on and vomited upon. Rohmer was a warrior.

By the fourth year, Rohmer had shown signs of wear and tear. I loved him all the more for it. I thought the raggedness gave him more attitude. He was also an attention-grabber and a conversation-starter. A friend of mine once asked if I have plans of replacing Rohmer any time soon and I said, “No way! These are my comfort shoes!”

I ate my words when Rohmer started exploding at the seams and my little toe began to say hello at the soles. He used to be a classic, easy-going low- top with a lightly cushioned footbed. Now, his soles were almost onion-skin and beyond a Mr. Quickie-fix. By then I knew one thing was inevitable: Rohmer had to be replaced.

Just two months ago, the real Eric Rohmer died at the ripe age of 89. It gave me the urge to look for my old pair and just wax nostalgic. True, I’ve had several shoes after Rohmer—Godard, Von Trier, Kurosawa. My current favorite is called Scorsese. Getting a new pair of shoes is easy. But they don’t quite have the feel of Rohmer. And I don’t think there is a pair in the world that can look as nice as that old ragged thing.

This is my official contest entry for the "Red Shoes Story Contest". Catch the movie when it hit screens on March 10, 2010. For details about the movie click here.

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