I just read on Facebook that women spend two percent of their lives trying to figure out where the bruises on their legs come from. I know where mine come from. Tripping over the furniture I just kicked with my toes.
I’ve been walking for most of my life, and I’m pretty good at it. Professional, even. But my feet are always tripping me up. They’re traitors—non-conformists in every way you could imagine. First of all, they’re large. Wide. And blind, apparently. They have absolutely no idea how much danger they’re in most of the time. I’ve lost so many toenails kicking things in the dark, my pedicures are covered by insurance now. And I have this little toe at the end of both my feet—twins—with practically non-existent toenails. They’re short and squatty, and when they stare back at me my toes look like they’re squinting.
So I was thirty-five years old before I ever even painted them with nail polish. Why would I put color on something I didn’t want anyone to look at? I always wanted to have cute, pretty feet. As vain as that sounds, the truth is I dreamed of wearing skinny sandals where my feet didn’t hang over the sides. And I wanted to buy a pair of heels that looked as cute in my size as they did in the shelf sample which could only fit a ten-year-old.
But there’s no liposuction for feet. And since foot binding was completely out of the question, I finally just forgave my feet for not being cute and started wearing flower art on my big toes anyway. At least the flowers were cute. Then I bought a lot of sandals. That’s when the trouble started.
I started kicking things for no logical reason. Bedposts. Otttomans. The dog. But the worst offenders were grocery store shopping carts. You know those tiny little wheels that aren’t far enough away from innocent toes? Wow. Give one of those a piece of your mind and half of your toenail, and it’ll teach you to stop racing to cut people off in checkout lines.
My daughter tried to help me out one Christmas. She and I used to have an ugly slipper competition where we gave each other homemade slippers that won only if they were hideous. She took the trophy every single year because the judging was rigged—my husband and son always voted for her entries instead of mine. But one year even I voted her slippers the winner. She made me a pair that looked like little bumpered cars to protect my toes in the dark. It was so thoughtful I bawled like a baby.
These days I’m a lot more conscious of where my feet are and where they shouldn’t be. I don’t let them near vagrant table legs. I wear tennis shoes in the grocery store. I keep them away from the dog. And I’m sporting a new kind of sandal with bumpers on the front. I’ve thought of just about everything to keep my feet happy and healthy, if not cute.
Now if I can just learn to keep them out of my mouth.
Photo courtesy of Neuro74’s photostream at flickr.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/neuro74/3495826955/)