Looking back over the years that I have been writing this column, one subject stands out above all others: shoes. Man, I sure do write about shoes a lot. You’d think, for as often as I have covered them, that I would be some sort of Carrie Bradshaw-like shoe aficionado. That I would know the difference between a Jimmy Choo and a Manolo Blahnik. Or that, at the very least, I would have an opinion regarding Nikes versus Adidas. The truth is, however, I could not care less about the shoes I or the people in my family are wearing: as long as everyone has at least one matching pair, I am content. And sometimes I don’t even care if they’re matching: when it comes to flip-flops, for example, does it really matter if they are two different styles? As long as one of them is not some four-inch tall wedge-style flip-flop (the stupidest shoe design EVER), who cares if one of them has pink Barbies on it and the other one is leather? If someone calls you out on it you can always say “Well, why were you looking at my feet in the first place? Pervert.”
But, yeah: for someone who doesn’t really care at all about footwear I sure do seem to write about it a lot. And, as usual, the reasons behind this are the same reasons for so many of the inconsistencies in my life: my children. It is well documented (in this very space) that my children’s shoe loss makes Cinderella look like a rank amateur. However, whereas before this has only been a minor (okay, major) annoyance, now it has become a true matter of life or death (at least as far as my feet are concerned), because this summer marked the arrival of the dreaded day when they both started wearing the same size shoes as me. I think you know where this is going. Yes, the time has come when my own damn shoes aren’t safe in my my own damn house, because now, after my children have shed their shoes out in the wilderness like a couple of inconsiderate snakes, they always know where they can go to get an “extra” pair: me.
If I was the sort of person who believed in monsters under the bed it might freak me out to take off my shoes at night, place them on the floor next to me before I go to sleep, and then find them missing in the morning. I might think that the bed monster was trying to lure me into sweeping my hands back and forth under the bed in the early morning hours, all the better to grab me and pull me under. Instead I know that I have been suckered by a monster of a different order, that my shoes have been tossed somewhere in my dark and messy house, and that it is my unlucky task to try and find them.
I could of course always try waking my kids up and asking them what they did with my shoes, but if the chances of getting a straight answer out of them in their waking hours are slim then the chances of getting one when they are comatose asleep (the only way a teenager sleeps, apparently) are none. And besides, if they had it in them to remember what they had done with any pair of shoes, ever, then we wouldn’t have reached this sad, shoeless state in the first place.
My only hope at this point is that their feet continue to grow past the point where my shoes are a viable option—either that or I start buying shoes so hideous that no one would ever want to wear them.
Remember that the next time you see me walking around in 4-inch wedge flip-flops.