I was walking down the street and there was a homeless woman who caught my eye. Well, I suppose it wasn’t she that caught my eye, but rather her belongings strewn languidly across the steps of a church. More specifically, one item in her collection truly surprised me. Among her clothes and other belongings there was a pair of roller blades.
I’m not one to judge; I know quite a few people who own quite a few odd things. But roller blades? What use could this woman have for roller blades? Surely they are a bit clunky to carry around all day and not a viable means of transportation.
I continued on my way down the street and hopped on a bus, but I couldn’t shake the image of the woman and those roller blades. They weren’t particularly fancy or anything, just a pair of roller blades with a 90’s color palette that left me wincing thinking about years of scrapes and bruises. The more that I thought about them the less it made sense. Clearly the woman had to understand how impractical owning and lugging around a pair of roller blades was, especially in San Francisco.
Then I thought more about this woman rollerblading. I realized maybe she just likes to roller blade. She obviously must enjoy it if she is willing to schlep them around with her. It really was the only rational explanation as to why someone who lugs around all of their belongings chooses to lug around a pair of roller blades as well.
However, it simply seemed a bit self-indulgent.
We all are self-indulgent from time to time. I think that it is one of the easier ways to keep ourselves sane. I don’t agree with the negative connotations that usually apply to self-indulgence. I think that at it’s root, indulgence is finding joy where others may not. Personally, I have an obsession with old books. The more tattered and obscure the better. One could imagine the joy I felt when I found somewhere to buy them for a meager five dollars per full paper grocery bag. One also can understand the predicament that I faced when I arrived home, to an already full bookshelf, and a Honda Civic spilling over with books.
I’ve read one of the many dozen books that I bought that day and I’m sure that the woman I saw doesn’t often go rollerblading. Despite the fact that the books cover almost every surface of my room, I’ve never regretted buying them. I’m pretty proud of my book collection and I hope the woman is proud of her roller blades.
Everyone indulges in something and, as long as it isn’t hurting anyone, what’s the big deal? I certainly am not one to judge. My last purchase? 100 fortune cookies on Amazon.
Author Chris Wyman is a modern day renaissance man, a philosopher and a reality sculptor. He believes in living a deliberate life of dreams actualized.
Suede Roller Skates image provided courtesy of Shutterstock