Every week a different FADER staff member will pick a clothing item or accessory that he or she has lately been spending a lot of time with—or would like to—and write a little love letter to it. We would’ve done a column on who we’re dating but that seemed a little bit much. This week Alex talks about Minnetonka's Chukka Boot.
About a month ago, I went to Los Angeles. Every day, I swam in a different body of water. I laid on Manhattan Beach and then felt sand in my toes the entire 40-minute drive back to the city. I drove through the hills up to Griffith Observatory and saw the sunset from the highest point, where James Dean died in Rebel Without a Cause. I ate tacos that cost $1 but were better than any I'd ever had and got smoothies and froyo as much as possible. I wore shorts and T-shirts, I barely ever changed my clothes. And something funny happened under all that sun: laying by a palm tree at a pool in West Hollywood, I stopped caring about anything except what I wanted to care about, my New York neuroses about stresses I couldn't control melting in the California heat as fast as my Pinkberry. How many cliches could come true on one trip out west? I felt free.
"It's not LA," a friend said. "It's you." On a daytime walk through Silverlake, I called him and told him why I loved California, why I'd be a better person if I moved there. But he explained that it had nothing to do with my location—I could've been in Ohio. He said he thought that anytime you take a trip, you know it's impermanent and so you live in the moment, you enjoy every second. Was that the trick? He told me to list all the things that I wouldn't like about living in LA, things like how terrible a driver I am and how bars close at 2. And he was right: as soon as I started actually thinking about living there, the romance wore off. It wasn't LA I loved, it was me in LA all along.
I vowed then to bring that Alex home: vacation Alex running free in real life Alex's New York. Not easy to do, it turns out—it's harder to get to the ocean out here. But instead of the practical shoes I've come to wear for long subway rides and 20-block walks through Manhattan, I've been wearing soft suede Minnetonka moccasins that have a thin sole to keep me grounded, that remind me of journeys on every step. As you can see from the photo, dirty New York sidewalks have already greyed them a bit at the edges, but even through the filth, they'll keep their charm, I hope. And so will I.