I bought new sandals, wedges, the day that my son graduated from middle school last month. They were on sale, although from an upscale store and I spent more on them than I normally would, but they were comfortable and had secure black straps that flattered my Cinderella’s step-sister foot and I thought, “why not?”
I know there are plenty of women who love all things shoes—wearing them, looking at them, buying them, but I’m just not part of that tribe. I tend to get a pair, wear it out and move on to the next one, until the season changes and then I start all over again with the appropriate footwear. I have enough on my mind without having to decide which shoes I am going to wear every morning. And you’d think that I could have used the time I’d saved with this method throughout the years to make a couple of scientific discoveries, worthy of the Nobel or the Madame Currie Prize or whatever it is they bestow these days on the truly selfless and heroic, but The Bachelor isn’t going to watch itself, you know.
Anyway, I bought the sandals the morning of my son’s graduation. It was June 15th. I know because I looked at the calendar.
And the sandals and I started off on the right foot. They looked great and were comfortable and I hardly noticed that by the end of the day, the previously appealing straps were trying to sever my big toes from the big toe bones. I was disappointed, of course, and temporarily bed-ridden, but I remained strong and, yes, brave. I knew that like all relationships, this one would require time. After all, who knows what kind of an environment the sandals came from. Maybe they were made in a factory. Or worse.
I put the sandals away for a few weeks and when the stigmata on my feet abated, I tried them on again. Somehow through the miracle of positive thinking, and leaving them in the closet to consider what they had done, the sandals no longer hurt my feet. (It’s possible that my feet no longer have feelings, but the statute of limitations on that cause of action doesn’t run for a while, so we have time to explore that option.)
I was once again happy with the sandals and decided to take them with me on my European vacation in late June.
At first everything was fine.
My sandals and I walked down the Spanish steps, we visited St. Peter’s Square and we strolled over the many bridges over the Tiber.
In London, my sandals and I got caught in several showers, but perked up by hopping on and hopping off the Hop On/Hop Off (or, as some of my travelling companions referred to it, Hop On/Fuck Off) Bus, marched by Buckingham Palace and tiptoed around Big Ben.
The sandals were comfortable. They were stylish. They were practical. It was the trifecta of sandalhood and I felt shoe bliss as never before.
Then we got to Paris and the merde hit the fan.
The Guy I Went to Ireland With (I know how confusing this sounds since we were in France) and I were strolling hand in hand down the Champs-Elysses, when suddenly and with no warning and/or official announcement, the strap on left shoe snapped and I almost fell over. Fortunately TGIWTIW caught me like the precious Faberge egg that I am and I suffered no injury.
“Wow, mom!” My daughter, who was walking behind us with her friend said, “you have a reverse flip flop!”
Yes, I did. The only strap holding my foot in was around the heel, so the front of my foot was completely unstrapped. I understood instantly why “reverse flip flip” never caught on as a craze.
I could not walk with that thing on, so I took it off. And then I decided that I would hop on the one sandaled foot.
Here’s the thing about hopping on one foot when you are sightseeing in Paris (or anywhere for that matter):
DO NOT DO IT.
Or do it, I don’t care.
But I did two hops and then couldn’t decide whether the perish from knee pain, chest pain, exhaustion, ennui or indecision.
So I did the only thing that I could do- I took off my sandals and walked barefoot. In Paris. The City of Lights. And possibly, feet.
(Oh, dear lord. They’re platforms, aren’t they?)
“I have to buy some shoes!” I screeched, thinking that maybe the Lord works in mysterious ways. After all, if you have to buy a pair of shoes, there are worse places to be stranded than Paris.
We got into a taxi and explained our dilemma. “Take us to the nearest shoery!” we said to our taxi driver, which unfortunately doesn’t translate that well into French. We showed him my broken sandal, to say nothing of my spirit.
“Ah,” he said and then he said some words that we understood to mean that all the stores in Paris are closed so we cannot buy any shoes.
“How can that be?” I despaired from the back seat. Our day trip to Paris was being ruined by the minute and I realized that all those “No Shoes No Service” signs I used to question in NYC were now directed at me and that I would have to leave Paris shoeless and filet mignon-less.
I said a silent shoe prayer.
There was more conversation, and I use the term loosely, with the taxi driver and then he drove us around in circles to earn enough for a down payment on modest two bedroom in Versailles until I saw a store that appeared open.
“Stop there!” I pleaded. And he did.
And I went into what was apparently the only open store selling shoes on Sunday afternoon in Paris.
And I bought a pair. The Lord works in mysterious ways. And with a sense of humor.
One year ago ...