Last Friday, I was offered a chance to attend a conference of my former state professional organization. Rather than being there as an organization member, I had agreed to help out as one of the background workers. I was just a retired peon, there to help sharpen pencils.
Here was an entire conference center full of people who still set their alarm clocks, got up in the morning, went to work, and did exactly what I did before I retired. And as I looked as this group of people who did exactly what I did for 32 years, what struck me most was the absolute sensibleness of their shoes.
Sensible shoes. It’s sobering to look at your peers' tired and achy feet a little more objectively when you’re not emotionally involved with them anymore.
They weren’t the best-dressed group you’ve ever been in a room with. You’d never mistakenly believe you had stumbled into a Vanity Fair Fall Fashion Show by accident. And, of course, the shoes—I can honestly say you’ve never seen so many sensible shoes in a room in your whole life.
If you’ve ever spent the day on your feet, running around a classroom or high-tailing it across campus to another building in time for your ten o’clock class, you understand the concept of—and the necessity for—sensible shoes. Down-to-earth, flat-soled, arch-support, utilitarian shoes. Shoes on the cutting edge of nothing. Shoes to support your feet, your back, your calves, and your mental health. Vanity and style do not enter into the equation.
Maybe now that I'm retired, I will go out and buy a pair of those four-inch heeled designer shoes with straps and pointy toes.
Maybe I’ll wear them out to lunch one day, just to show my plantar’s fasciitis who’s boss. Maybe I’ll slip behind the wheel of my car and figure out how to operate the accelerator and the brake pedal while wearing a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti gladiator platform sandals or five-inch zebra cork-soled pumps.
Maybe next year, if I’m asked to help at the conference again, I’ll be the one to strut in during the opening keynote speaker session in a pair of studded Prada over-the-knee boots.
(Please sing along) “I’m too sexy for my shoes, too sexy for my shoes . . . and I do my little turn on the catwalk . . . too sexy for my shoes . . . “
Just maybe that will be me.