The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
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 by Manuel Batlle
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Should I rip my shoes for a free cup of coffee?

One cold evening while stepping out of my car at a coffee shop, I saw a gentleman sitting outside wrapped up in layers from jackets, blankets to scarfs.  As I closed the door of my car, I briefly glanced at the concrete floor and noticed the man’s shoes were torn.  They were black sneakers that seemed to have burst open by the morphing and overgrowth of a foot when a man transforms into a werewolf upon seeing a full moon.  I am not in anyway trying to be disrespectful or bring humor to the conditions of the gentleman's footwear.  This was just the picture that came through my mind in that moment when I could see all his toes exposed to the draft of this cold fall evening air.

I had just set a pair of used sneakers in trunk of my car that morning. I asked the gentleman what size his feet where and he responded after we greeted each other, “9 and a half.”  I was shocked that it was the exact size of the shoes I carried. 

Recent studies showed how formal attire influenced the decision making process.  People wearing formal attire tended to “…engage in abstract thinking,” or “think more broadly and holistically” while those with casual attire made more “narrowly and about fine-grained details (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/04/wearing-a-suit-makes-people-think-differently/391802/ ,http://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/minds-business/when-clothing-style-influences-cognitive-style.html#.WCj71neZNSw).” I plan to soon go for a medical residency interview and I think I will take this information and put it to use.   I will not just “dress to impress” but also use it as a tool when the interview/interrogation begins to help knock all questions out of the park. 

The articles showed how attire can almost singlehandedly influence or empower while getting a person to feel a certain way or even affect the way they are perceived by others.  I have even noticed how haircuts can affect the actions of all of us. I have seen how men with long hair will flip their hair, an action that traditionally can be perceived as feminine or a sign of femininity. Obviously that is not the case today, since men of all builds can carry long hair. On the flip side women with short hair may be perceived as more aggressive even if they in reality are a sweet and tender person. 

When older men buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle there is also attire that generally includes a leather jacket, leather boots and a black helmet that tend to give a sense of bravado. Many religions have their male or female priest dress up into ornate vestures for each ceremony. We can decorate the outer frame of our body with anything and disguise ourselves with what we wish for that day.  In our current changing times post election, I hope we can find a store that sells shirts full of truth and justice with shoes full of love and peace since we are all still human and need one another. 

In Redding people that live on the streets are referred as transients.  One night I saw a couple outside the library on the curb surrounded by all their belongings.  I had received a huge loaf of fresh bread for free at a local bakery earlier that day because the owner understood I had waited too long for my meal. Since I do not consume that much bread, I thought maybe I could find someone that would appreciate it.  I pulled over and asked if the couple would like the loaf of bread.  They looked at each other almost as if I was offering a Republican banner to a Democrat.  The male asked the female, “Do you want it?”  She said, “ahhh, sure,” as if out of pity she was taking the bread so I cold feel good about myself. 

Going back to the gentleman that sat silently outside the coffee shop.  I said, “I actually have a pair of 9 and a half pair of shoes in my car would you like them?”  He looked at me and then took a deep sigh and said, “Thank you but no.  When some people see my feet and shoes they tend to buy me a cup of coffee.” He paused as if searching if there was more to say looked at me and said, “But thanks anyway.”   I wonder if they dress up in formal attire to come up with all these tricks to get what they need and then slip into the necessary vesture to put the techniques to use. There is a saying that says, “The first time it’s a mistake but the second time it’s on you.”  These people definitely have a way to work the system down to a science.  I then naively look at down and wonder, “Should I rip my shoes for a free cup of coffee?”