Friday, January 15, 2010
I am not Imelda Marcos, but I did have 56 shoes at last count. I am not Richard Reid, but I am a bit of a shoe terrorist.
You see, I had a plantars wart. There, I said it. It's so hard to admit; sounds so ugly. But it is a pretty common problem, I've learned. It started out as no big deal, but last year it started to mutate into a giant alien. My podiatrist and I waged a ferocious war, knowing full well it was a weapon of mass destruction that must be destroyed. After several months, lots of money, a fair amount of discomfort and much inconvenience for my entire family, it seems that the monster has left my body, although I don't want to jinx anything so I won't say that aloud or even begin to celebrate.
Besides, I don't feel much like celebrating because I'm in mourning. My podiatrist suggested I throw away all my shoes just in case the HPV that causes plantars warts lives on, even without a host, in my footwear.
Throw them ALL away?
You've got to be kidding. There are thousands of dollars wrapped up in those babies, and furthermore a lot of them are actually comfortable. They've traveled to China and Alaska and Chicago with me. They've attended weddings and parties and school plays. They've been splashed by chlorinated water in Idaho and they've been sucked into quicksandlike mud in Texas. It's not that they're gorgeous Prada creations; most of them are actually Danskos and Merrills and Ariats and Uggs and Keens. But they're mine, all mine. They represent me.
They've been loyal to me; I've been loyal to them. They're like kids but they don't talk back. (Okay, some of them do, and that's why I never wear them. And those are the ones I don't mind pitching.)
Yes, I'm attached to my shoes, but I was also raised by a survivor of the Great Depression and I'm living in the midst of the Great Recession, which means I don't like to throw away anything, least of all fantastic shoes in great shape. But I can't donate them because I can't bear the thought of passing on the alien HPV to an unknowing victim.
So I've spent the last few days dividing them into categories: the ones I never wear, the ones that can be washed in hot water, the ones whose insoles can be replaced. The ones I can bear to part with and the ones I can't let go of. The ones I know were never exposed to the wart and the ones who have been intimate with it. And then I recategorize them again, and again, trying to find some way to save the favorites from the dump. All the while, the shoes are lined up one next to the other, looking all innocent, but I know that at least one of them, if not more, is a terrorist waiting to attack once again; like a little rogue band, plotting to reinfect me and recreate yet another episode of podiatric terror.
So here I am, mourning the loss of my little terrorist wonders, waiting for the strength or divine intervention to let them go.