Today, I hate my shoes. They are Nikes, which is strange in itself because I never buy Nikes. They're white, pink and silver--three colors I never wear. They make my feet look far too big for my body. This last is not necessarily a difficult task...you'd understand if you ever take a moment to look at my giant feet. They're huge, ginormous, freakishly large.
Last fall I realized that one cannot thoroughly explore Washington D.C. in flip flops and Chuck Taylors. After two full days of limping for miles in unsupportive shoes, the agony of plantar fasciitis shooting through my heels, I decided that new shoes were in order--and price was not an issue. I left my cool hotel room in rubber flippy flops and hobbled the half mile to Ballston Commons, a three story mall in Ballston, VA.
Little did I know that the Grand Duke of all Shoe Salesmen awaited, poised to pounce on this unsuspecting shopper as she meandered into Lady Footlocker. At first he maintained his subtle facade with a welcome and a polite inquiry into my footwear needs. He pointed out different types of sneakers and showed off discounted items. But within minutes this front melted away to reveal a salesmen determined to earn his commission that day.
He picked out this pair of cotton candy-themed, sweatshop stained satan shoes, fell to his knees before me, removed my flip flops, pulled new socks over my feet and laced the shoes himself. "No," I said. "These don't feel right. The arch is in the wrong place. I don't like these shoes."
"A bigger size!" he declared, rushing to the back and returning with even larger shoes. He repeated the lacing ritual and again I hinted that I did not like these shoes, they weren't right, but his constant stream of inane chatter left my protests to fall away unheeded. "Inserts!" he cried, retrieving a pair of blue foam Dr. Scholl's, ripping open the packaging and slipping them inside the offending footwear. The shoes felt remotely better, but I felt exhausted, pressured, and eager to leave the shadows of the mall.