Several decades ago, I remember the thrill of being hired for a job in New York City. I celebrated by buying new shoes. Shiny red pumps that made me feel powerful. They were cheap shoes, and all that I could afford at that time. In spite of that, my red shoes were a potent symbol of accomplishment for me.
Although I have a fair amount of shoes, I would never consider myself a shoe addict. For starters, I developed hereditary bunions a few years ago, making the latest fashion difficult to wear. I have also never been especially fond of wearing shoes that would not allow me to run away from a mugger (did I mention that I grew up in New York?).
Shoes are not just a fashion accessory; they also symbolize our standpoint in life. Even the most decidedly anti-shoe person is making a statement by wearing shoes void of fashion. They provide both a philosophical platform as well as a practical one. You are not likely to wear rain boots to the beach anymore than you would wear flip-flops in the rain.
When I moved to California, I had a strong feeling that Northern California, my first landing spot, was not going to be home for me, but decided to give it a chance anyway. After all, everyone always sings the praises of the Bay Area as though it was utopia (and for some, it is). More important than my instincts that this was not the right place for me, though, was that I could never find the right shoes. This small crisis reached a climax one afternoon when strolling through art galleries in San Francisco. The cute kitten heel, faux animal print shoes I had purchased in Miami began to hurt. Those darn bunions, yes, but what were my other options?
Okay, by now you are probably finding this discourse about shoes to be superficial, but hear me out. This is not really about shoes.
In Northern California, all manner of 'sensible' walking shoes are popular. They can be expensive and very well made, but high fashion, definitely not. There is a mindset here about a deep connectedness to nature and eco-friendly consciousness. Hence, the cultural penchant toward wearing comfortable shoes.
In an effort to overcome my shoe dilemma, I purchased an expensive, well constructed, round toed, black leather Mary Jane style, comfort shoe. It had special insoles meant to support your feet. They were the ugliest, and most certainly, the least sexy, shoes I ever bought, and they are very popular in Northern California. They reminded me of orthopedic shoes.
After wearing them a few times, my pricey walking shoes were retired to the closet. I gave up. Northern California did not fit. After all, I had a closet full of fashionable sandals and sharp-toed pumps in every color from my Miami days that were being neglected.
I was left with two choices: learn to wear shoes I do not like, or move.
Anyone want to buy a hardly worn, black leather pair of Mary Jane’s in a size six?
Copyright Asandra 2013