I like shoes. I have a few pairs. Mostly they are all a variation of the same black slides or clogs, but I can appreciate a funky, fancy shoe. It’s just that I don’t have the same shoe fetish that many women do, if only because most of my disposable income is spent on art supplies… ask me about markers or paper. I couldn’t show you that in one snapshot.
My sister, on the other hand, has a serious shoe fetish. A few years ago, I looked at a mountain of shoes in her closet (and these were the ones not in current rotation) and marveled at how you could really have that many shoes. I told her she probably didn’t even know what was at the bottom of the shoe mountain and I started to dig around. She absently tossed me a pair of brown, cloggy slides and casually told me here, you can have these. I’m the big sister so I’m sure there was some satisfaction in her giving me a cast-off for a change.
The brown shoes sat in my closet for quite some time, if only because I almost always wear black shoes. Then, on a day where I was visiting a school, I sported them with an outfit that called for brown cloggy slides. What I didn’t know that day, however, was that the glue holding the soles of the shoes had broken down over the years and these shoes were just hours away from falling apart on my feet. I remember the moment they began to break–there was a snapping feeling along the bottom of my foot as I crouched to unhook my computer. I really had no idea what it was and, thankfully it was the end of the day. As I packed up to leave, the young and very handsome principal came to to say good-bye and told me he would accompany me to the office where I could pick up my check. Did I mention he was young and very handsome?
So, as we were walking down the hallway, the right sole breaks loose. Whap, whap, whap! Oh, my heavens, what is going on??!? I almost tripped right there next to Mr. Hunky as the left sole followed suit. So, I stopped and looked at my shoes–that’s right, called all the attention to myself as I stood there with broken shoes. There is something truly demoralizing about having your shoes fall apart on your feet as you are on your way to pick up a paycheck with a good looking stranger. And, then, there’s the matter of getting to the said destination with broken shoes on your feet. I did not play this one very cool and managed to get to my car looking pretty much like an idiot but, little did I know, I would get another opportunity to do it right.
Last week my guy and I went to a nice, little outdoor wine-tasting, foodie picnic event to benefit autism at the Salt Creek Grille in Princeton. I wore a hippie-ish, Stevie Nicksian kind of get up–long, swishy skirt, flowy tunic shirt–the perfect thing for a pair of black, beaded sandals, circa 1990. Yep, I wore 12 year old flip-flops. I know, what on earth was I thinking? I wasn’t, that’s just it. I had already forgotten all about my sister’s evil, disintegrating shoes and didn’t give it a second thought as I walked out the door all summery and ready to party.
The right shoe broke with the first step out of the car. In the parking lot. Not even into the party. But, this time, I knew exactly what had happened and did kind of a scoochie-footed thing as the left one began to let go of its sole as well. I had a little moment of panic but decided to play it cool this time. My first thought was a MacGuyver– that there must be a roll of duct tape or a staple gun in the joint. I just had to get back to the hostess desk and have a little woman-to-woman talk. We walked through the restaurant to the back patio where the gig was going on–ladies laughing and tasting wine in sundresses and strappy shoes, a jazz band playing away on the warm breeze–I continued to scooch along, devising my reconstruction plan. When the boyfriend got an urgent work phone call that he had to take, I saw my opportunity. I smiled at him, pointed to the door, and mouthed “I’ll be in the ladies room, honey.”
I figured that if I could get to the restroom I could assess the situation and thought, probably, peel the soles off all the way and just go super flat. But, as I walked down the hallway to the lavvy, the sides that hold in the flippy-floppies also came apart. I could barely keep them on, even being scoochie. There was just about nothing attaching them to my feet. By the time I got into the restroom, I had accepted the fact I had just arrived at a party without a pair of shoes to wear. So, you know what I did? It hit me like a flash and I asked myself, What would Lucy do?! Because, really, this was a Lucille Ball moment if ever there was one. So, I put the broken shoes in my handbag and went barefoot (I had enough sense to know I wanted to take a picture of them for Facebook and, so, did not put them in the garbage just yet). The hem of my skirt was low enough, the event was outside on grass and fortunately, Vivian Vance wasn’t there to blow my cover–but, I was not in roller skates, thank goodness. (Do check out that link, friends, for a good morning laugh with Lucy).
And, you know what? No one noticed–not even my guy. I just played the carefree, barefooted girl at a summer party and it was fine. The next morning I posted this story to Facebook and, lo and behold, so many girlfriends joined in with their stories of Lost Soles. Here are just a few of the excerpts:
“I had these fabulous boots that I bought at Barney’s in the 1990’s for $800…when disposable income did not include 4 kids and a life. Similar thing happened, not nearly as funny but WTF with the glue? The heel came unglued.”
“This is hysterical only because I have had a similar wardrobe mishap except I was in the city at a meeting and I stapled my shoe.”
“Once the bottom of my shoes got sucked into a puddle of mud and popped right off.”
“Funny Dar! That happened to me but I was a the supermarket…..I did my shopping bare foot ;.)”
“Have had several pairs that the sole just crumbles off. One pair at the closing of my house. After having it happen a few times, I went thru similar shoes and bent them like I was walking. Several more pairs got tossed in the trash.”
“I had the same experience with a older (and still cute) pair of sandals… totally falling apart!”
Today is purely anecdotal, my friends, but I suppose the message is this: when you get older, when you’ve stacked up Life’s many experiences of trial and tribulation, when you’ve decided who you are is who you are with all your quirks and wrong turns, and when you’ve realized that following your bliss isn’t always the easy way, well, then a broken pair of flip-flops at a party just can’t rain on your parade. And, there are worse things than going through life barefooted. Especially on a beautiful, summer day with someone nice.
Enjoy your holiday week, everyone, and stay cool!
TRY THIS WEEK: When faced with your next inconvenience, hearken your inner Lucy.