Monday, March 21, 2011

You may not want to walk a mile in my shoes

I wrote this piece for the Mommybloggers site. People have been looking at my feet suspiciously ever since.

A few weeks ago I was invited to a breakfast hosted by our local school district.  I’m on a committee made up of parents and faculty that regularly meets with our local superintendent, and the breakfast was a way to thank us for our involvement and for giving up that one morning each month. I have to be up and dressed by 8am for these meetings, a remarkable feat for me that truly deserves a reward of free bacon, so I accepted the invitation. Besides, if I didn’t go they would have just spent the money on something frivolous, like a new textbook for a second grader or a door for the teacher’s bathroom.

The breakfast was a casual affair at a local restaurant, but I was glad I had gotten up a whole six minutes earlier than usual to primp since everyone there was dressed in business attire. After we were done eating they moved on to the very official awards ceremony, where they called each of us up individually and handed us a certificate and a small pin. (Does anyone ever wear these pins? I don’t think so. Maybe they should have some sort of national program where everyone sends in their service pins and they’re melted down and made into teeth for old people.)

They took pictures of us getting our awards, too, full-length ones. After that the breakfast was over and after talking to a group of people for awhile I headed out to my car.  While I was fumbling with my keys at my door I happened to look down and saw two of the most horrifying, scaly creatures I’d ever seen.

I’m talking of course, about my feet.

Any of you who read my blog have heard this all before. Forgetting to brush my hair, going to a meeting with a cereal bar stuck to my sleeve – nothing new.  But what I saw that day was a new low in my personal grooming, which is why I feel the abnormal need to tell you all about it.

I’m not just talking about un-pedicured feet.  I’m talking about scaly, dried, cracked horrors that I blindly slipped into sandals that morning and went out in public in.  Reptilian hooves that I padded up to the front of the room on, and then stood still while a photographer captured it all on film. During breakfast I think I even remember turning in my chair to talk to someone behind me and as I crossed my legs I brazenly bounced my foot up and down. It’s as if it was boasting, “Look at me! I’m hideous.”

I mentioned the incident to a friend and tried to make myself feel better by saying, “I’m sure no one was looking at my feet.” After she stopped laughing she said, “This is L.A., feet are an accessory.”  In fact, she had no sympathy whatsoever and scolded me for not getting a regular mani/pedi, comparing it to not washing down there. Excuse me? I’ll have you know I always wash down there; it’s the region far south of that equator that seems to have suffered a blow.

How did they get that bad?  I couldn’t tell you, except that I was right in the middle of a particularly busy time and my lowest priority was painting Cocoa Mist onto my toenails.  But when I came home, I repented.  I soaked, I buffed, I filed, I polished.  I even slathered them with lotion and wore thick socks to bed, which I think Vogue says is something you should never do if you want your husband to find you even remotely attractive. You think that would be the end of it, me and my now-shiny feet padding off into the warm sunset of a thousand pedicures. But no.

Now, I’ve become obsessed with looking at people’s feet. Maybe it’s to find someone else’s unsightly toes that could make me feel better about how mine looked that day.  Perhaps it’s like going to a friend’s house and sneaking a peek into her messy closet so that you don’t feel so bad about yours. Not that I’ve ever done that.

But I’m finding that we’re a city filled with beautiful feet. As my friend pointed out, the pedicurally challenged in L.A. are a rare find.  I’ve looked at the feet of other moms that I know, of strangers at the mall, of 80-year old grandmothers of friends. Perfectly appointed feet as far as the eye can see.  The only pair I found that came close to how mine looked that day belonged to a homeless woman’s at the airport, but even hers had been filed and topped off with a snazzy toe ring.

I’ve even heard of a procedure called a toe-tuck (I’m serious – go ahead and Google it) that claims to improve the appearance of your baby toe. Just in case, you know, it isn’t looking as young and firm as it used to.

But me? I’m afraid I’ve gone back to my old ways.  I’ll never let them slide so completely, but they’re far from beautiful.  I just looked down at them now and I can’t even figure out what color nail polish I had on last. In fact, is that nail polish or gravy?

I’m debating whether or not to re-join the school committee for the upcoming year.  My oldest daughter just started middle school and my mornings seem to be twice as hectic. Before I decide, I really need to find out what happened to those pictures they took at the breakfast that day.  I’d hate for the administrators to take a close look at them, notice my scary feet and refuse to give me a pin next year.

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1 comment:

Jaelithe said...

Sometimes I am grateful I live in the Midwest. It's way easier to look put-together in comparison to random people off the street here.

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