I’ve been thinking lately about Uggs. Anyone who’s never heard of Uggs probably also thinks cell phones are still the size of bricks, and these same folks haven’t yet received the news that Elvis has left the building. Uggs are, true to their name, the ugliest boots ever invented, but also the most warm and comfortable. And durable. The great thing about Uggs, with their polar fleece lining and shapeless leather exterior and their nearly miraculous ability to transform a zippy beret and a stylish coat straight into what Glamor Magazine calls a Fashion Don’t is that, after four winters of wear, Uggs look no worse than when you first duck-walked out of the store with them.
However, there is one minor glitch going into my own fourth Uggs winter.
At first everything with these boots, newly reclaimed from a box of winter clothes, seemed copacetic. On some of our colder mornings I slipped them on to take Huxley for walks on the town beach and around Sunset Lake. I left them just outside the door of my apartment on the second floor, having prepared a little mudroom bench with a basket of socks and slippers.
In the past couple of days, however, I’ve been venturing out into this upstairs hallway and thinking, “What’s that smell?”
There was really no need to ask. Some odors are what they are with no mistaking them: diesel exhaust, skunks, spoiled milk and, this particular smell: hard-use sports shoes.
It’s a smell that mostly rolls off the feet of boys.
All of us who have sons know that unless you keep the windows open or the sneakers shut in the closet, you might be able to keep the odor under control. If your kid has one or more buddies over, however, forget it. You’re not going to want to enter the room until a major fumigation effort has been waged.
Now, girls’ feet don’t stink. Granted, girls are playing more sports these days, and giving many more pair of socks and sneakers a workout but . . . what can I say? . . . girls share a certain molecular makeup with heavenly beings. We also shower more, change clothes oftener, and buy sweet-scented shampoos, shower mists and moisturizers. Even after a brutal basketball practice, you can pick up a discarded T-shirt from a female player, lift it to your face and think, “The shirt of an angel!”
So recently in my hallway, I had to wonder, where was this odor of boys’ feet coming from? Insistent as the smell was, it couldn’t have possibly been so rank that it wafted from an entirely other room somewhere else in the building. My glance kept sliding to the pair of four year-old Uggs standing outside my door. Could it be? No! But it was! Over the seasons, even in cold weather, even with my feet encased in socks and tights, some residue of sports-feet smell had leached into the fleece and perhaps even the leather itself.
As some famous political figure from the 1970s said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I threw my Uggs in the washing machine and added a lot of detergent and hot water. When the cleaning cycle was done, there was one positive point to be made about these Uggs: They still looked no worse than they ever had. On the other hand, they’d shrunk enough that even Cinderella would have found it impossible to shove her feet into them. And they still smelled. Not as much, but enough. (They will have arrived at the landfill by now).
One more item before we change over to the hard news: It’s time to observe a requiem for the inhabitants of Circuit avenue who are being kept awake all night long by the pounding of jackhammers, the thunder of truck engines and the ungodly clangs of pipes — in short, heavy metal work that should be done during the day, but which is instead foisted during the wee hours on all the poor saps who live on Circuit. Somehow, somewhere in their planning, town leaders designated Circuit avenue citizens collateral damage. I personally am so sleep-deprived at this point — sleep deprivation being one of the chief interrogation techniques proscribed in the Geneva Protocols — that a session of water-boarding would probably come as a welcome change.
I know the rationale for these nighttime thumps, bangs, machine snorts and whistles was to protect business owners from loss of customers but, what customers? In November? Those few of us retailers who keep a few open hours outside of Friday and Saturday have got thumb-twiddling down to a science. A few days back, Ron DiOrio of Craftworks said all he’d sold that entire day was a pair of socks. I said, “All I’ve sold is a cup of coffee! To you!”
So please don’t keep Circuit avenue open on our account. Let these waterworks guys carry on in the daytime — it couldn’t hurt for them to see what they’re doing.
Here’s another more in-depth, insightful and inspiring reminder about the O.B. Tree Lighting on Nov. 28: Carolling will start at 6:30 p.m. Immediately following will be hot chocolate at The Game Room, with tunes from the Stingrays. Please bring a donation for the Food Pantry — imperishable only — and dessert finger foods to share with each other. The Game Room will open at 4:30 p.m. to drop off treats ahead of time.
And speaking of the Island Food Pantry, last Monday afternoon we received a record amount of donations, two big lots from members of Trinity Union Church in Oak Bluffs and the Methodist Church in Edgartown. Many members had taken a whole bag, with suggested items printed on a flyer and stapled to it (pasta, canned food and vegetables, rice, cereal, etc.), and proceeded to buy a full supermarket sack’s worth of these goods, in addition to doing their own shopping.
Also Bart Smith from West Tisbury dropped off his traditional three turkeys a few days ahead of Thanksgiving. He probably doesn’t want to be singled out for such a lovely gesture, but after seeing him do this year after year, I figure someone had to point the finger. The turkeys come from the market, by the way; he’s not bagging them in the state forest.