It’s not always easy to know how to dress in Newfoundland in September. On Wednesday, while we were lashed with wind and rain in the tail-end of Tropical Storm Florence (by the time it gets here it’s all storm and no tropical), I was trying to tidy up the mountain of shoes in our front porch and I thought, “Well, I can put away all these sandals — clearly we won’t be needing them again!” Today it was sunny and 20 degrees and as I stopped by the house after work to change before doing some errands, what do you think I was tearing around looking for? My sandals, of course!
The question of footwear is very pertinent today because there is something wrong with the middle two toes on my left foot. They are hurting. An obvious explanation, given how accident-prone I am, would be that I hit them off something, but I have racked my brain and don’t recall doing so. They seem to have just spontaneously combusted into pain. The most creative explanation so far comes from my student Ellie who suggests that it may be meningitis — of the feet. Aaaannnd … now we know why Ellie’s the only one of her friends not planning to study medicine.
I think it’s getting a little better — this started about two days ago — but this morning when I got up early enough to take Max for a walk, I hobbled to the bathroom and realized there would be NO morning walk for Max. Instead I went down and rode the exercise bike, which didn’t hurt my foot at all. I amused myself while cycling by listening to some choral music I downloaded onto the iPod after my ear-opening experience with Spem in Alium on Wednesday night. Since I loved that piece so unexpectedly much I went online and asked the knowledgeable choir-type folks at Ship of Fools for recommendations and now I have a nice little beginner’s list of choral music (which I am also listening to as I type this). Of course, as I drove along Prince Philip Drive this afternoon with the windows down and the radio blasting, “She Ain’t Pretty She Just Looks That Way” as I sang along, I realized I will probably never be a true classical music afficianado — at least it will never replace my love of 80s pop music — but hey, I can broaden my horizons a little, right?
It occurs to me that Wednesday night, when I went to The Rooms and heard the Forty-Part Motet of Spem in Alium, was also the night my foot started to hurt. Coincidence? I think so!
A much more likely cause than choral music or meningitis is that I need new shoes. I am the absolute polar opposite of every cliche you’ve ever heard about women loving shoes. I couldn’t care less what’s on my feet and hate shopping for them. I wear sneakers — basic cross-trainers — about 95% of the time, I walk a fair bit, and I don’t update nearly as often as I should. In fact, half the time what I have on my feet is hand-me-downs from my mother. My mother apparently has oddly-shaped, hard-to-fit feet, a fact from which I have benefited immensely. The sandals I’m wearing in the pic above are the most comfortable I’ve ever owned, and my mom gave them to me because they were so uncomfortable.
A couple of years ago I was wearing a pair of old sneakers that my mom had handed down to me, to tide me over till I bought new ones. Predictably, instead of buying new sneakers, I wore those ones till they were shabby. One day I was at a Life Skills meeting with some participants at Choices, a local charity that works with homeless youth. I looked around the room at all the feet and thought, “I’m in a roomful of homeless youth and I have by FAR the worst shoes in the room.” I went out that week and bought myself new sneakers.
But that was, as I said, a couple of years ago, and now those sneakers are old and tired, and I have acquired another pair of hand-me-downs from my mom which I have been trying to get used to. However, I think this pair may actually be flawed, since wearing them seems to have coincided with the onset of the foot-meningitis. Time to go shoe-shopping — why isn’t it ever as fun as it seems to be for girls in movies?
Among the many fun places my compromised feet carried me in the hour between getting off work and picking up the kids this afternoon was the parking lot of Chapters, where I snapped this memorable photo:
OK, so this is how you know you’re NOT a Genuinely Famous Person, because a GFP would either be so blase they wouldn’t know or care there was a giant sign up with their name on it, or else they’d be incensed that the store couldn’t (apparently) fit their whole name on there. I’m in the zone between excited, irritated and embarrassed — probably equal parts all three, but not so blase that I didn’t drive by and take a picture. And even without the “Cole” which is an integral part of my name, I have to say I like THAT side of the sign (westbound) much better than the eastbound sign:
Yes, the letter N — also an integral part of my name, as it turns out.
Just to prove that I can do something useful in this life, other than obsess about my feet and signs with my name on them, I posted two new reviews on Compulsive Overreader today, so you should go read them. Having done that, I will close this blog by showing you pictures of the wonderful and enjoyable thing I did after the sandals, the errands, the sign and the singing along with the radio … I took advantage of the good weather, picked up my beautiful children from school, and took them to the playground. And it doesn’t get much better than that, even for a name-challenged writer with podiatric meningitis.