Tuesday, July 27, 2004
i bought some shoes
not something i would usually write to the general public about, buying shoes. but here, it was a challenge. i went in dozens of shoe stores...once i learned my size [two-hundred-and-eighty somethings] the clerks would literally LAUGH at me. they would smile, laugh, look down at my feet and shake their head, then giggle as i walked out the door. it was borderline humiliating. i was the freak with the enormous american feet that they had never seen before. i went so far in my quest for shoes as to pull aside the students who were my size or taller and ask them where they got their shoes. they said they got their shoes anywhere--not even they had big feet. so yesterday, i went in a HUGE department store. maybe 6-7 floors built around a generous atrium. the shoe sellers on the first floor directed me to the third floor. i got there, and there must have been 20 different brands of shoes, each with 20 different models, all in their own little area. i went down the row and one-by-one flashed each clerk the number--280--written on the palm of my hand. more laughs, more giggles, more shaking of the head. then one woman smiled, but it didn't morph into laughter...she simply hurried awaym and left me standing there. i waited because where else did i have to go? she came back with a dusty cardboard box, with crushed corners, that might have been years old. she opened it, and there was a pair of shoes: dark blue, athletic but not specifically for running or basketball. i tried them on and i'm not sure who was happier--me for finding them or she for unloading them. clearly, they were going to be written off the inventory in the next cycle. but not so. i got my shoes, wore them home in fact, and threw my grungy size-12 american running shoes in the trash by the door as i left the store.