And lo, I declared but three things not pleasing unto me: Nicholas Cage. Beets. And feet.
Nope, no fan am I of our gnarly appendages south of the ankle. Can’t really tell you why, only that one of my earliest memories is when I was three, maybe even younger. And I’m crying and kicking and screaming because my mother is making me wear those cute strappy white sandals that all tykes wear. Even back then, I recall feeling naked because my wee toddler feet were exposed. Later, as a five-year old in love with The Beatles, I remember the surprise I felt the first time I saw a photo of John, Paul George and Ringo, and they were barefoot. The Beatles had feet? I thought their ankles were simply attached to their pointed black boots. It never occurred to me that there were feet inside.
Yes, my issues run deep. One might say…uh…to the very core of my “sole.”
Now, with summer approaching and the onset of sandals, it’s almost impossible to avoid the sight of my ten-toed nemeses. Some of which, let’s be honest, could use a little work. Jagged nails. Grime. Hair. Corns. Ick. And yet, despite my disdain, once in a while I myself will succumb to sandals, lured by trendy styles and cute colors. But I always feel naked, undressed, exposed. My tender skin is rubbed raw by offending straps and even in the hottest weather, my toes usually feel like frozen little Popsicle sticks. Then there’s the whole vulnerability issue. More than once, my exposed toes have been crushed by one hard, misplaced heel. Summer sandals may be a relief in hot weather, but they don’t offer much support, which once helped contribute to a painful bout with plantar fasciitis. And don’t even ask me about the time I ran into the corner of a wall and broke a toe. Want to talk about mind-blowing, seeing-stars pain? Hmmmph! Never would have happened in the armor of my close-toe shoes.
So problematic, these awkward appendages. But when I mentioned my anti-foot fixation to my co-worker, Wendy, she looked at me as if moose antlers had sprouted from my ears.
“Where you frightened by a foot as a child?” she asked. Wendy loves open-toe shoes. She wears flip-flops year round, even when it’s raining ice cubes. If there were such a thing as open-toe ski boots, she’d be the first in line. Clearly, she was not going to relate.
“No, I just think feet look like misplaced monkey fingers,” I tried explaining, but to no avail. She continued staring at me like I had stepped out from an episode of “The X-Files” and surely, Scully and Mulder couldn’t be far behind. Wearing sensible shoes, of course. Close-toe.
“Oh! Are your feet…” she lowered her voice in a sympathetic tone, “…not pretty?”
That was it, right? I must have a webby three-inch middle toe that could double as a divining rod.
But nope. As far as feet go, mine are okay looking, not that anyone will ever know. Because barring poolside parties or days at the beach, it’s pretty likely my smooth, straight tootsies will remain securely tucked inside sensible shoes.
Close-toe, of course.