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what else are you supposed to call them?

is the phrase "rubber shoes" for sneakers/tennis shoes/athletic shoes just a filipino thing? we always called them that growing up. after a while in the school system, i decided it sounded silly, so i started referring to them solely by brand. (i didn't own multiples of the same brand.)

my mom: are you going to wear your rubber shoes?
me: yeah, i'll wear my BKs.

that just seemed so label-flashy, so i tried to refer to them by type. (i didn't own multiples of the same type.)

my mom: are you going to wear your rubber shoes?
me: yeah, cross-trainers would be a good choice today.

but as i get older, it seems to me that "rubber shoes" is excellent. it is exactly what it is. you don't have to be specific at all. you don't have to talk labels, you don't have to let on that you are ridiculously unathletic and that your so-called athletic shoes are just for comfort. i have never liked the word "sneakers." makes me feel like my shoes are off doing naughty things when i am not wearing them.

cam thinks "rubber shoes" is the funniest thing. he surreptitiously smiles when my mom tells paul he should be wearing his. i smile, too, but more in acknowledged perfection of her terminology.

the other day we were at a local department store when a saleslady approached paul and started talking to him. there was something oddly familiar about her, but i couldn't figure it out. he held out his feet to her. "are you showing me your rubber shoes?" she asked. a-ha! at that moment, i looked at her and realized she was clearly filipino. in fact, she was the saks saleslady equivalent of a friend of my mom's. too funny.

i can see myself being an old fussbudget reminding my grandkids that they should wear their rubber shoes if they want to play outside. they will roll their eyes just as i did, but i will be content, knowing that i'm passing that silly phrase down to a whole new generation.



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