For a trip to Wal-Mart last weekend, I wore dress pants and heels. For a wedding at the Ritz last month, I wore pantyhose with no feet and carried my shoes. I use my copy of Dress for Success to even up the slope under the litter box where the builder got a little crazy with his leveling tool.
Granted my trip to WalMart came just after church, a place I generally visit wearing matching clothes, or at least the ones from the end-of-the bed pile that I’m fairly certain are clean.
I bought new shoes to wear to the Ritz. On the “Cinderella needs new shoes for the ball” theory, I used the grocery money to purchase a pair of black satin peep toe pumps in size “Does Not Fit” as require by the Fashion Statute of ’08.
Getting dressed for an elegant party in a hotel room three hours from home is not a good time to find out your shoes are the same size as the infield at Yankee stadium. When I walked across the room, the shoes flew off like rainy day road slush off truck tires.
It didn’t help that I had three other pairs of black shoes in the bedroom closet 200 miles and a red dirt driveway down the Interstate.
It didn’t help that we’d just made an emergency shoe run for the Captain who had apparently chucked his dress shoes out the car window while cruising down the highway at 70 miles an hour. At least I couldn’t think of any other reason why he had taken care to bring a charcoal gray pinstripe suit, gray silk tie, and two year old grass-stained Reeboks.
The scenic, historic town that held the Ritz was much too quaint to offer anything so mundane as a shoe store, so we dashed to Shoes R Us in the next village to pick up a pair of dress shoes. We were even now donning our fancy duds to attend an elegant party with folks who did not purchase their clothes at the Zippy Mart.
“Why did you buy shoes that don’t fit?” The Captain of my Love Boat has a happy talent for driving my stress meter into uncharted territory. He was oblivious to the Jaws music that began in low tones in the background.
“They fit in the store.”
“I see. Why didn’t you ask for out-of-store shoes?” Sure, the man with the plastic dress loafers thinks he’s a comedian. Let’s see if he’ll find any clean underwear in the drawer the next time he’s headed for Lunch with the Boss Day.
“I tried them on without hose. With hose, my feet slip down like they’re on a swimming pool slide. My toes are trying to crash out the end into deep water.”
“What should I do? Throw you a life preserver?”
I strolled across the room to kill him, gripping the inside of my shoes with my toes like a cardinal clutching the branch of an icy winter pine. After about twenty minutes I stopped to rest before finishing the trip.
“Just let me hang on to your arm. We’ll walk slowly. We’ll look more elegant like that anyway.”
“Ohhh, like Jed Clampett easing down the spiral staircase to visit the see-ment pond.”
If I could aim it properly, I would have stabbed him in the instep with a stiletto. Unfortunately control was a problem and the shoe flew off sideways like it was lost in space.
At the Ritz, we were met by a smiling valet who clearly intended to park our car. Our car that was so full of wadded tissues that I attempted to use as shoe padding on the trip over that it looked like a Puffs outlet store.
The valet extended a well-manicured hand. My husband dropped the car keys into it-- just before Cinderella’s slipper knocked him out of commission with a pop fly to mid-centerfield. I never saw a valet fold into accordion pleats before. His reflexes were quite spectacular.
Not long after the wounded valet incident, the shoes took the road less traveled, and I skied down the hill barefoot to the lovely lakeside wedding. About the time I hit the sidewalk switchback halfway down the black diamond slope, the feet ripped out of my classic black hosiery, held in place by a single strand of between-the-toe nylon.
I arrived at the bottom of the mountain with a spray of grass and a flourish, and with all the grace of an Olympic champion accepted the arm of the usher, black satin pumps in hand, and the Captain trotting up behind.
The wedding was picturesque and stunning in its simple beauty. But I’m sure glad I didn’t promise to keep those pesky pumps Til Death Us Do Part. I’d hate to have to commit a crime of passion on my sole mate with a monogrammed napkin.