One day during a long ago (circa 1990s) Creative Writing II class, I overheard one of my writers say, "When they get that big, they're just not...fun anymore!"
Immediately, the entire room was blanketed in that sort of unified silence that occurs unexpectedly, and every single student stared at little Jennifer Lewis, who was not even five feet tall and happened to be wearing her cheerleader uniform, thus rendering her even more adorable. She got very, very pink and quickly said, "Feet! Feet! I was talking about feet!"
Ah, Jennifer! It was wisdom like that--and your startling talent--that got you all A's in CW.
For now, much to my great dismay, it is The Season Of Feet. They are Everywhere. I cannot escape them. No matter the venue, be it grocery store, bank, pet supply shop, department store, or restaurant, feet are all over the place. At least I am no longer in my classroom, where I would have had to be confined with as many as twenty pairs of feet in various stages of undress every forty-five minutes, five times a day. Highschool students, especially this unseasonably warm year, would have started wearing The Dreaded Flipflops as early as March.
Ugh. When did Flipflops (Called THONGS back in my childhood, that term means something entirely different now.) become appropriate Public Footwear for middle class adults? Who first broke this Societal/Class Barrier? Bring her to me! Off with her head! Honestly, I thought I was alone in this discomfort with and dismay over flipflops (Arrgh! The name alone is irritating, juvenile, and Seussian!) until I read Jonathan Franzen's novel Freedom. In it, the character and sometimes-narrator Patty bitterly muses about young people:
"I have some issues with their flipflops. It's like the world is their bedroom. And they can't even hear their own flap-flap-flapping, because they've all got their gadgets, they've all got their earbuds in. Every time I start hating my neighbors around here, I run into some...kid on the sidewalk, and suddenly forgive the neighbors because at least they're adults. At least they're not running around in flipflops, advertising how much more laid-back and reasonable they are than us adults. Than uptight me, who would prefer not to look at people's bare feet on the subway. Because, really, who could object to seeing such beautiful toes? Such perfect toenails? Only a person who's too unluckily middle-aged to inflict the spectacle of her own toes on the world."
Once I read that, I stopped to consider: Am I against that footwear because I merely hate my own feet, or because I hate feet in general? Or is it a symptom, like Patty's, of a deep dislike of teenagers and/or twentysomethings? I concluded thusly:
1. I do dislike my own feet.
2. I hate all feet in general, excepting baby and toddler feet. (The Jennifer Lewis Rule)
3. I like teenagers as a rule; always did.
4. I am routinely annoyed by twentysomethings as a group, but don't often dislike them individually.
Look, adult feet are ugly. Even if you tan them up, grease the cracked heels, grate off the skin rinds, and polish the nails (but lay off the greens and blues--urk), they still spend time hanging out at ground level in public. Those are the facts. They do a utilitarian job for about sixteen hours a day and look it. Multiply that over the span of years a person's been walking. THAT IS WHY WE HAVE GREAT-LOOKING SHOES AVAILABLE.
And, hey, all that Maintenance Stuff up there? That is Pedicure Business, which I'm not having. Even if you call it the cutesy "pedi." Do. Not. Touch. The. Feet. I don't even like to recognize the fact that I have feet. Except for the purpose of owning the aforementioned GREAT-LOOKING SHOES. Which leads me to...
My Brown Sandal Dilemma. Briefly touched upon in comments in my previous post, I am locked in a years-long search for the perfect brown sandal which, should I find it, I will buy all pairs of it in my size (8.5), thus forestalling another quest for as long as possible. Here are my
BROWN SANDAL REQUIREMENTS
1. Flat, but some arch support
2. Nothing between my toes
3. No ankle strap
4. Show as few of my toes as possible
5. No flowers or flowery decoration
6. No gladiator styling
7. Reasonably priced
Why is this so hard? Where is it, this Brown Sandal Of Nance-Nirvana? It is gone, too, the way of Mars Bars and Sane Republicans. Heavy Sigh.
Instead, I suffer daily with Flipflops and...well, you know the rest. On the upside, two of my nieces are expecting this fall. Soon enough, there will be four little Democrat baby feet to play with.