Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Sole Reason for My Problem

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Sole Reason for My Problem

Article excerpt

Byline: gary bainbridge One man's struggle with the 21st century. Follow Gary on Twitter @Gary_Bainbridge or email him at gary.bainbridge@trinitymirror.com

IHAVE two pairs of shoes. I don't want you to think I am bragging when I say this. "Oh, here he comes, Billy Four Shoes." If anything, I am Billy Ten Shoes, as I also have two pairs of boots and a pair of running shoes. I know, I know, my flat is almost indistinguishable from a branch of Clarks.

The point is that, unless I am running, I have a choice of shoes. I can literally fill my boots.

So I suppose that what happened that day was my fault. I did not have to choose the one pair of shoes I own which have a smooth sole.

But, on the other hand - or foot, the manufacturers were at fault for making a shoe with a smooth sole. What were they thinking? These are people whose job it is to think about how shoes work and are used. Is there nobody in their R&D department who has pointed out that shoes would ideally grip the floor, rather than glide across it like Torvill and Dean on Teflon. Is there nobody saying, "People tend to stand up and walk when wearing our shoes. I don't see the benefit of a sole that reduces friction on surfaces. Our customers tend not to fry eggs on the soles?" Anyway, I first realised that this was an issue when I was on my way in to work. I had run out of the specific hair gel that I have to use - and a man with difficult-to-explain hair like mine has to use a specific hair gel - which is only available in the bigger branches of Britain's Favourite Large-scale Retailer.

Hair gels and suchlike are situated on the first floor of this establishment, and accessed by a travelator on a steep slope, shopping trolleys being tricky to accommodate on conventional escalators, as anybody who has ever gone to town on a Saturday with a pushchair will tell you.

I stepped onto the steep travelator, and gripped the moving handrail, and all was fine until about halfway up, when I had to release the handrail to answer a text message about nothing.

The thing about gravity is that it is no respecter of texts about nothing, and I felt its pull immediately. I started to slide down the incline, my shoes giving me no traction, my legs thrashing about as if I were in a Japanese game show called Enormous Comedy Slippery Slope, until I could sheathe my phone without causing it damage and snatch the handrail again while falling to my knees. …

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