I am fascinated by shoes, especially since I have mobility issues and can’t wear what I want. Now I do have my fashion fetishes though shoes are not one. That was my mother’s. She thought of herself as an Imelda Marcos of shoes. Couldn’t walk past a shoe department. If I had anything, it was probably the irresistible lure of flip flops. Still, certain shoes have marked certain times in my life.
I hate now that I have to wear flat, primarily oxford shoes. My goal is not to look orthopedic or old. This winter I bought a nice pair of metallic slip ons at Clark’s. Normally, this might be a Sunday afternoon jeans kind of shoe but it’s my alternative to my shiny black male bankers shoes. It’s been comfortable in the winter.
Another factoid about me. I like to go shoeless and barefoot. Years ago, I worked for a man who said, “Sweetie, I pay you enough to wear shoes.” I was known for being in meetings and taking them off. I used to have really tough feet too due to going barefoot all the time. The one place I really perspire is through my feet. So, I never wear hose with shoes, if I wear shoes when it’s warm. Things have changed and I cannot leave the house without the spectral leg and hence the ugly shoes.
I had interviews with three companies over two days in NYC this week. In the past, these would have been in great locations and all walkable. And it was in the 80’s. Technically, according to my doctor, I am not supposed to be in NYC in that kind of heat. On Monday, I had to walk 2 blocks and a bit to my 2nd interview. Caught a cab back to Penn but walked a little further than normal. I had the beginnings of a blister, the Clarks with no hose.
The other thing that has been happening with this new spectral leg is that the bottom of my foot burns. It feels as if it’s on fire. I can’t take the shoes off by myself. Well, actually I can take them off, just can’t put them back on. This adds to the irritation as I try and wiggle them around.
Back for the second round on Tuesday. I don’t want to look too formal but because it’s an interview I can’t wear the gladiator sandals that work with the spectral leg. Back into the Clarks with bandages. By the time I get off the train I realize this is not working. Ever resourceful, I try to shove lidocaine cream and tissues into the shoe. I have long nails so this isn’t primo either.
The interview is on Broadway, literally a block and a bit from Penn. However, I don’t want to arrive staggering. Due to blister I miss the bus and have to stand out in the hot sun for 8 (I counted) minutes. So, when I take the bus one stop and have to cross the street, it’s not going well. I then interview with two different people on two different floors. What do I do in the waiting room? I lust after the other people’s shoes. I see someone with red -soled Louboutin’s. A beautiful flat strippy sandal.
There is no bus the other way and it takes me almost 40 minutes to walk the block back. A businessman on 32nd Street asked me if I needed help and when I said “no, one step at a time”, he told me I was still pretty. Being vain, that brought a smile to my face. However, by the time I started to cross 7th avenue, I needed help. An homeless veteran helped me the last few feet and one of the sightseeing bus hawkers helped me to the escalator. I missed my train but continued to stagger through Penn. Walk ten steps, rest 30 seconds. I made it to the wall of the police substation. They noticed and an officer let me sit on the bench inside. It helped enormously. Staggered to the train and then down the two flights of concrete stairs to the car. I did not cry. Just kept powering through. Tom nearly cried when I got in the door and took off my shoe. He wouldn’t even let me get off the chair for an hour.
My foot is a swollen, infected mess. I did well on the interviews despite that.
This brings me to a memory. I lived almost two miles from high school and I hated it. I did frequently what I am known to do. I walk away. Well, now I really can’t but voting with my feet is the way I have handled my life. So, I used to literally just walk out of school. Sometimes, I’d go back. I was also brought up to be my own person and not go with the crowd. But high school is still high school. I bought a pair of red suede baby huey shoes for $3 at Thom McCann. This was huge. My allowance at the time might have been $1 a week. I am also my grandmother’s child. She was a precursor of the “It’s better to look good than to feel good” school of thinking. So, I wore my hard as rock red suede shoes with a fine wale lavender corduroy pant and lavender Missoniesque body suit to school. Decided I didn’t want to be there and left. Halfway home I felt hurt. Pre-cellphone plus I was cutting school. Arrived home and my gran and dad were horrified (Ma was at work). The hems of my lavender pants were red and matched my shoes. Not only had I burst blisters but had gone almost to the bone.. I literally couldn’t go to school for three days.
Which brings me to me and Ma. She always told me she had a high tolerance for pain. She said childbirth was vastly overrated. She used to have her teeth drilled without Novocain. And the implication always was that I couldn’t. Yet, look what I have done even going back that far. I just sucked it up and kept on going. I do deal with pain and uncertainty. I need to acknowledge I am brave. I keep on going and ignore the inconvenient.
On the down side, I was practically in tears going to Penn this week. I used to walk to midtown in a third of the time it took me to walk one block. I HATED looking and acting like the fragile elderly. I REFUSE!