Today could have turned out to be a very bad day for me had I not possessed the foresight to plan ahead. Cruising on a boat forces a person to live with less. Deciding to stock a spare pump over an extra pair of shoes are common decisions made by cruisers when prioritizing space aboard the vessel. Frankly put, space on any boat is premium. Cindy and I went from each having our own massive walk in closets, complete with custom shelving, to sharing a 4’ wide hanging locker. The funny part here is the 4’ wide hanging locker is the envy of other cruisers when they see our boat. Apparently, we should feel spoiled by having such an extravagant space to hang our clothes. I’m not sure how other cruisers manage to store cloths but to watch them drool over our tiny closet is funny. Storing shoes is an obstacle best solved by not having many shoes. Somewhere on this boat is a pair of boat shoes I have never worn. They were stashed away in the days when I thought I would wear boat shoes on a boat. Ha! I have yet to meet an experienced cruising sailor who owns boat shoes. Sandals, yes. Boat shoes, nope. Progressing ever deeper into the cruising lifestyle, I now have only two pairs of footwear I actually use. I have some rather comfortable tennis shoes (trainers) for days when we walk more than three miles. The usage of the adjective comfortable is cruisers code meaning completely worn out. When a person has limited shoes, they tend to get worn more frequently. The other pair of shoes I wear are flip-flops. The flip-flops are my short distance shoes. My feet have tan lines from flip-flops. I am thinking about buying some sandals to complete my shoe ensemble; short range, medium range and long range.
If you go back through all the pictures of me on this blog since we have been cruising, you will see on my feet one of three things: 1) Nothing 2) tennis shoes or, 3) Flip flops. My shoes have a lot of miles on them. We walk and awful lot. So, it should be no surprise when I sadly announce to you, today I blew out my flip-flops.
This is not the first time in my life I have had to face this adversity. In the summer of 2014, I posted on this blog “The Day the Moccasin Died”. It was a very sad story about losing a pair of beloved slippers. Oh, the tragedy. This was during the time when we were transitioning from land life to boat life. For a person who doesn’t like change, we were making some really big changes. The last sentence of that post was, “I’m going to trade in my slippers for a pair for flip-flops. We’ll see how it goes. One day at a time.”
I am pleased to say, the flip-flops served me well. They lasted exactly 1,673 days. Considering I purchased them at Costco and have worn them just about every day since, I think it is accurate to say these are the most cost efficient pieces of footwear I have ever owned in my entire life. I think I paid about US$10 for them. So the daily cost of protecting the souls of my feet translates to about US$0.005977 per day or about a half of a cent per day. Not bad! However, the real calamity here is they were just getting comfortable.
I know a lot of cruisers who only own one pair of flip-flops and no other shoes. If I were of this school, walking to the store to buy another pair of flip-flops would mean going barefoot. I think I have sailed enough miles and visited enough ports to be considered a fully fledged cruiser. You could almost say, I’ve earned my sandals. Being a fully fledged cruiser, I now have cruiser’s instincts; instincts different from normal people who live on the land. A land loving person would toss the broken flip flops in the trash and buy a new pair the next time there were out shopping. They wouldn’t think twice about this. Heck, they may even have extras sitting in their closet and losing a pair of almost comfortable flip-flops is no big deal. A cruiser, on the other hand, is going to try to repair the flip-flops. A cruiser, rather than go out and buy a cheap $5 pair of flip-flops is going to take a $7 tube of 3M’s 5200 adhesive and re-engineer the structure of the shoes to ensure they never break again. For those non-sailors reading this, 5200 is an adhesive that should have no place on a boat. But, all sailors have some. It is an adhesive with a demon like power to adhere to everything, including human skin.Once something is glued with 5200, it is never ever ever ever coming apart. It is water-proof, sun-proof, salt-proof, fire-proof, child-proof, fool-proof and can only ever be removed with a super secret extremely special rare reagent know to cause cancer to the people of California. Cruiser’s like 5200. It is our duct-tape. We even keep it in the freezer once opened to prolong the life of the contents in the tube. I’m not kidding. We really do.
Did you catch the part about me purchasing my flip-flops at Costco? One of my favorite jokes about Costco was by a comedian (sorry, I forget his name) who poked fun at Costco for selling caskets. He joked how his neighborhood store now sold coffins and even had samples, just the casket corners. He said the good news was they were only $99 each but the bad news was you could only buy them in a 6-pack. Yes, I purchased my flip-flops from Costco and they were sold in a two-pack. For the past 1,673 days, give or take, I have had a second pair of flip-flops stashed away knowing this day might come. Thank you Costco for forcing me to pre-plan for the inevitable.
I now can save my tube of 3M 5200 for a future crisis. I am currently thinking about a moving memorial service and sea burial for my old flip-flops. I know this might seem like an odd ritual to you but based on the number of flip-flops I see washed up on beaches all around the world, I just assumed the sea burial would be what they would want after protecting the soles of my feet so cheaply for 1,673 days. I think it is the lifelong dream of every functional flip-flop to serve in the afterlife as an artificial reef for a few dozen fish and travel in the ocean currents until washing up on a pristine beach where they bask in the sunshine until properly buried by a cleanup crew.
My replacement flip-flops are almost an exact twin of the first pair. The are the same design and feel the same; just not as comfortable yet but that’ll come in time. They are a different color. I don’t like change. It would have been nice of Costco to put two pair of the same color in the package and not force me to adjust. But I guess this is better than nothing. I am just going to have to learn to live with the new color scheme. As I look down at my feet, it is an emotional adjustment to see the new black flip-flops where the old brown ones used to be. We’ll see how it goes. One day at a time.