You hear these expressions and you wonder what they mean, really. Take when people say they don’t believe in the holidays. “But they’re real!” you want to say. “They come every year! Didn’t we just survive them?” Or take when they say, “If the shoe fits wear it.” That’s an expression that sprang instantly to my mind, when, the week after Christmas, I came upon a pair of women’s shoes jammed in a wastebasket.
A pair of brand-new Kate Spades, in with the trash! As a former hotel chambermaid I thought I’d seen just about everything a person might put in a wastebasket, but this: this took me by surprise.
Some delicate questioning finally revealed the fact that it was one of my grown daughters who had left the shoes, which she picked up at a consignment shop in the hope that, although they were a size 8 ½, they would fit her size 8 foot.
They didn’t. They were just too big and so she left him here, knowing I would bring them to the Goodwill truck that spends its days crouched like a sleeping dragon in the parking lot of a nearby shopping plaza.
“But wait!” I thought, pulling them out of the wastebasket and turning their finely crafted leather in my hands. “Maybe these shoes will fit me! Sure, I wear a size 7 but I think I have some of those round-cornered foam inserts with the adhesive backing around here somewhere. I bet I can make them fit!”
I fetched the inserts, stuck two of them inside the back of one shoe and tried it on. Alas, all my ‘fix’ did was create an inch-wide gap between the back of my heel and the shoe. It made my feet look like Minnie Mouse’s.
So I peeled the inserts out, and stuck them in again, this time up near the front of the shoe, figuring they would stop the ball of my foot from canting forward to give me that child-dressing-up-in-its-mothers heels look.
Still no good. When I tried taking a few steps, my toes popped out of the shoe’s front in a way that was comically reminiscent of that classic ‘wardrobe malfunction’ fashion.
No matter what, the shoes didn’t flatter me. Plus, I couldn’t actually walk in them. And so, as a child will do for her dead pet mouse, I nestled them into a small box in bade them farewell.
And yes I do know, dear reader, that the old saying about footgear fitting isn’t really about footgear at all. Rather it’s about how we react when people make an observation about our behavior. It suggests that we might want to heed them.
If someone tells me that I’m tight-fisted, surely I should ask myself if this is so and consider becoming more open-handed. If someone remarks that I’m frequently late, surely I should ponder the effect on others of anyone’s tardiness, my own included.
And if someone notes that I can’t seem to tell a simple story about shoes without bringing in dead baby mice, snoozing dragons and Janet Jackson’s big moment at Super Bowl XXXVIII then I might not be a journalist at all, but just some classroom cut-up seeking to have a little fun at the back of the room.
Possible? If the shoe fits wear it they say! Maybe what I lack on the gravitas side of things I make up for on the merriment scale. I can live with that. Because, I mean, how great is it to wake up every day to a job you really love? 🙂