Miss Boots – Part III
Early in my first year of High School I came into possession of the first brand name item I had ever owned – a pair of brand spanking new Doc Martens.
On that very first fateful day, I took my Doc’s home and lovingly re-laced them in my own special unconventional style.
Miss Boots, a creature of habit, officially had a new uniform. From 1995 to 2005 I wore Doc Martens every single day.
The only items I ever changed over the next few years were the colour of my Doc laces, the colour of my hair, and my underwear.
My life-uniform consisted of Doc Martens, button fly boot leg jeans and a long sleeved top. I hated my skin so much that I never wore short sleeves for any reason. I prided myself on being able to survive 40 degree heat while still wearing my self appointed uniform.
The only time I mixed it up was with the substitution of a floor length black skirt (instead of jeans) on the days we went to church. You can’t imagine the uproar it caused when the church gossips realised I was wearing boots under my long skirt.
One day we had a sermon about how dangerous it is to follow the fashions of the “non-Christian world”.
“Did you know that some people of immoral lifestyles… homosexuals, practisers of witchcraft, and believers in the occult… these people may use their clothing style to indicate their beliefs? For example, I’ve been told that the group known as goths or punks… these people may wear black clothing and metallic jewellery along with black lace up ARMY boots. People affiliated with this violent, drug abusing group may even think that it is appropriate to wear clothing like this to CHURCH!
Oh, how our dear Lord must frown upon these disrespectful sinning souls!”
All 200 members of the congregation turned to look at me. I was only 15. And incidentally, I wasn’t a goth.
My boots caused me trouble with my school teachers too.
According to school policy, shorts and sneakers had to be worn to our compulsory Physical Education classes.
I explained to them that I could run just as fast in my Doc Martens, because the rubber and leather had in fact moulded perfectly to the shape of my feet. I respectfully advised that I refused to wear shorts. I assured the teachers that I definitely wouldn’t get heatstroke, and I wrote my own release form (including legalese I’m sure they didn’t understand) to indemnify them. I even asked my classmates to sign a petition to allow me to participate in PE, wearing my own clothes.
Despite my efforts, they refused to tolerate my non-conformity. This led to much time spent in detention… reading and philosophising with my fellow delinquents. It also led to a severe lack of sporting ability and hand eye coordination.
My Doc’s didn’t just cause me trouble at church and school. Sometimes the police would stop me on the side of the road and ask to check my Doc Martens for stolen items and drugs.
It seems that all types of authority are threatened by people that are a little different.
By the second year of High School my Doc Martens fitted me so perfectly that I didn’t need to tighten or loosen the laces. By the third year of High School I realised that the special braid in my laces was in fact “dreadlocked” and ergo impossible to undo. Not that I ever considered undoing it anyway.
Me and my Doc’s were inseparable. Throughout the whole of High School I had a second job as janitor for the local Primary School. Instead of physically scrubbing the little boy’s toilets and urinals by hand, I’d fill up buckets of detergent and boiling water and hurl it at the walls. My Doc’s protected me from water scalds and chemical burns.
With a vacuum cleaner and a mop, my Doc’s and I trekked miles and miles of school corridors. The hardest job was sweeping and mopping the indoor gym with its double basketball court.
Together, me and my Doc’s saved enough money to buy my first car (at age 14). Then we spent the next two years doing up the motor, repairing and respraying the body, and chroming every possible chromable surface. Heated pieces of metal from the angle grinder and welder would fly off and embed themselves in the leather of my Doc’s. Tiny specs of my much loved car forever melded with my much loved boots.
At 16 my Doc’s and I learned to drive (legally, on the road) and the day I turned 16-and-6-months we went for my P-plates and got them first go. Pwned!
Having a licence opened up a world of adventure and possibilities. And a little mischief.
I wagged school one hot summer day, and my car broke down on the freeway halfway to Adelaide. By the time my not-at-all-impressed Dad arrived to rescue me, my Doc’s had melted into the bitumen on the road. Little pieces of gravel were stuck in the soles forever.
They were good times. My Doc’s and I faithfully lined up for the midnight showings of the re-released Star Wars movies, we drove endless “maineys” up and down the main street of town and, on special occasions we drove up to the Big Smoke.
Around this same time another life altering event happened to me:
I discovered fake tan.
I started wearing short sleeved tops, much to the shock of every one in town.
For our Year 12 High School formal, my friends and I hired a limousine. The whole of Murray Bridge lined the street outside our Town Hall.
When I climbed out of our limousine wearing a strappy (but still floor length) dress, everyone went quiet and stared at me in speechless awe.
That night, even with both parental chaperones in tow, me & my Doc’s danced til way past midnight.