I’m getting P. new snowboarding boots and bindings for Christmas. I say “getting” because that’ not the kind of gift that you can really buy a person in advance, sight unseen. The best snowboarding boot is the one that is most comfortable for your foot, and it’s difficult to sneak out with a person’s foot and shop for boots without that person knowing.
We stopped by a snowboarding shop today so P. could keep his feet attached to the rest of him. This was a shop staffed by true snowboarders. I expected them to tell me their boots were gnarly, dude, except probably no one hip actually says that in 2005. The guy helping us had hurt his leg the night before when he and some buddies had dumped a bunch of snow they gotten at an ice skating rink into some parking lot and gone boarding.
You’d think I’d feel extra cool, shoppping in a place like that, but mostly it made me feel old. Until the guy told us about how a 1/2 inch of padding is packed into the boot, but once you’ve worn the boot for a while, it packs down to 1/8 inch. “So, you end up with um, 7/8 of an inch more room!” He looked at us. “That’s not right, is it?”
“3/8 inch?” I suggested. And then I instantly felt like a tool — the old lady, correcting this poor kid’s subtraction. He looked at me, beaming. “3/8!” And then he high-fived me. I wasn’t a tool. I was bonding over math.
We didn’t end up buying any boots or bindings, because we have to do the adult thing with research and reviews first. But there’s a least a little part of me that’s not so adult, that fits right in with the gnarly dudes at the snowboarding shop. The part of me that does math.