I’m going to tell you a story about shoes. Well – it sort of has shoes as a main player in the story but truly it’s about finding my way, one foot at a time. Even in my determination to withdraw from over-consuming I bought 3 pairs of shoes in one week just a few weeks ago, and so am feeling that I need to confess. Being Jewish, it’s far too long to wait until next Yom Kippur (our standard confession season) so if you don’t mind I’m going to do my confessing here.
One recent morning I was chatting with some of the other women in my crack-of-dawn aquafit class as I sat putting on my MBT shoes (these are truly miraculous; you roll when you walk and your whole body feels so much better. Since I’ve been having such problems with arthritis in my metatarsals these are the only shoes I can wear that don’t hurt my feet). I bought these MBT sneakers a little more than a year ago and quickly went out and bought a pair of MBT sandals for the summer. A few months later I bought another pair of MBTs; this time a pair I could wear in the fall . Thing is, they didn’t have these shoes in my size; they’re so popular that they always sell out pretty quickly. So I bought them 1/2 size too small with encouragement from the salesman that they’d likely stretch. After all, it was only 1/2 size and I could barely feel my toes hitting the end of the shoe. I remember when I was a teenager and I bought a pair of fabulous Capezio shoes that looked just like ballet slippers; bought them a full size too small and they stretched and became my favorite pair of shoes for several seasons. Anyhow – long story short – the MBTs never stretched and I found myself pretty much never wearing them since after an hour or so my feet would be in agony.
Time passed … until that morning when I found myself in the Y tying my MBT sneakers. One of the other women asked me if I knew that a shipment of new MBT sandals had arrived; they were at a shop just a few blocks from the Y. So, once I’d finished my workout, I decided to head up and see if I could snafu a pair before they were all gone. I arrived at the store at 9 a.m. but they didn’t open until 10. There was someone inside at the counter so I knocked on the door and when she came I asked if they had the new MBT sandals in my size. With what my mother would call a “sour puss” she responded that I’d have to wait until 10 for her to check the stock. I haven’t bought any shoes in months and months, I wasn’t in too much of a hurry, so I waited.
Here’s where my new-found sense of peacefulness set in. Yes – imagining penguins does work for me as a reminder of what peacefulness means. Anyhow, ” Come back in an hour” to get the answer to a question she could have answered right then with a quick glance at the computer screen right in front of her would have once put me around the bend. Instead, I walked to a nearby bookstore, bought a book, bought a coffee … spent the hour relaxing and reading and sipping my Starbucks.
At 10 I returned to the shoe store to find out that they didn’t have any left in my size. There was another store in Toronto that had them in a 39 (my size) and a store in Oakville (a town about 40 minutes away; this is where David has his law practice) that had them in a 38. So … off I went to see if the 39s were going to fit (we’d also held a pair in Oakville just in case and David was on-call to pick them up for me if necessary … helpful fella that he is).
When I arrived at shoe-store #2 that day I was immediately offered a bottle of water. What a change from the treatment I’d received earlier in the day. I commented on what had happened earlier and before I knew it I was having a chat with the regional manager for the entire chain of shoe stores. By the time I left that shop a number of things had transpired.
I bought the new white sandals (they are lovely). I’d agreed to bring back the shoes that were too small and have them replaced with ones that actually fit properly (okay – that’s not quite a purchase but it is a new pair of shoes). I’d also bought a pair of beautiful green sandals to wear to my great-niece Tari’s Bat Mitzvah in California in a couple of weeks.
Coming home with three pairs of shoes definitely left me squirming. I can rationalize all I want but clearly this is excessive. That said, maybe it is just a part of who I am and I need to be a little more gentle with myself about this change. That said, how will things be any different if I don’t change my consuming habits?
Another part of the process I guess. Thanks for listening.
As I packed for my great-niece Tari’s Bat Mitzvah in California, I went through the bins of summer clothes I’ve stored away for the winter; seemed like a good time to give away a dozen or so pairs of sandals that I’ll never wear again. Anybody wear a size 8.5 and want sandals in many colours/styles
Well – enough frivolity.
Now it’s time to sit down and finish thinking through – seriously – what I’ve learned in the last six months; my first six months in retirement.