It was a rare Sunday afternoon. I didn’t have my three minions with me to “help” with shopping so, I was pretty happy with life. Even better, I was going to the Mecca of the suburban 30-something: Target.
I was stopping in for cough drops and those cute little veggie “meat”balls everyone in my family loves so, of course, I was prepared to leave with a cart full of other crap totalling more than $100. (I know it’s a racket. I know they have me pegged with their “clearance” tags and their super cute displays of crap I-didn’t-know-I-needed-until-I-saw-it, but I get sucked in every time. Perhaps that’s why I am only occasionally allowed to go to Target.)
I had just gotten my cart after the brief internal struggle between getting a cart or a basket. (Getting a basket will theoretically reign in my spending, but we all know I will just cram that poor basket to capacity and then I will be throwing out my shoulder trying to lug a 75 lb basket through the store.) I took two steps in to the store and, POP! The flip flop I was wearing gave up the ghost. The strap holding the poor thing together was broken beyond any hope of repair. There was no way I could even wedge the strap between my toes and lurch through the store like a Starbucks-fueled zombie.
“Maaaaaacchiatooooooo…” *shuffle shuffle*
Were I in Walmart, I would have been tempted to try that. But, this is Target, dog gamnit! Have some class! There’s a reason there isn’t a “People of Target” website. (Yet.) So, I weighted my options carefully. I could tuck my tail between my legs and go home. Perhaps I would have time to get another pair of shoes and then come back. But, what if someone bought that 2 gallon jug of peanut butter pretzels while I was gone?!
I went for plan B. I shuffled my way over to the shoe section, dragging my bum shoe the whole way, and took a deep breath.
Let’s pause for a moment and remember my size. I am 6’2. There is nothing on me that could be even remotely construed as petite. When I lived in Las Vegas, a man brushed past me and turned around saying, “Excuse me, sir.” Then he noticed I was a woman. And 8 months pregnant. I’ve never seen a man flee in terror faster. My feet are no exception when it comes to my size. (I won “Biggest Feet” every year when I was on the swim team in high school!) If anything, my feet are disproportionately large. I have met other people my height with much smaller tootsies so, I call shenanigans on these bad boys. I wear a size 12-13. In men’s shoes. If you are keeping track, that would be approximately a size 15 in women’s shoes. (I saw approximately because the only stores that sell that size cater to drag queens and, honey, their style does not say “subtle” or “bank employee” so, I usually have to take a pass on them.) Also, my feet are some multiple of E in width. Quadruple? I am not sure. Those little metal maxi pads they use to measure your feet never have a marking wide enough for my clown feet.
I believe it goes without saying that shoe shopping is not my favorite activity.
But, I was determined to have a Good Time without my children present and enjoy all that Target’s clearance racks have to offer. So, I scoured the shoe racks. I blew past the women’s shoes because Target is a little harsher than most. They don’t even carry a women’s 13. If I am channeling a Japanese foot-binder, I can occasionally find a 13 that I can wedge my foot in to and wear for at least an hour without crippling pain. I went for the men’s shoes and was having trouble finding anything in my size, there either! By this time I am completely humiliated. I have one bare foot that I am trying to hide as I scoot along, looking at the racks frantically.
And then I see them. Obnoxious, bright blue and yellow sneakers. My size. One pair left. I grabbed them and stuffed my feet in to them, praying they would fit – even just a little. (I paused for a moment because of their colors. You know how I feel about U of M so, this was almost a deal breaker. But, beggars can’t be choosers and I can pretend that they are Negaunee Miner shoes in a pinch.) They fit! And, shoot son, they were comfy. I waited until I was reasonably certain no one was looking at me and ripped the tags off the shoes. I was planning on buying them, of course, but this whole thing felt like an awkward shop lifting incedent that I would have to explain to a suspicious mall cop-type fella before too long.
When the coast was clear, I threw the box and tags in my cart and continued on with my shopping. I had a few paranoid moments of being sure people were reporting me to the officials for wearing shoes before purchasing, but I am pretty good at hiding in the toilet paper aisle so, I avoided the authorities with ease.
At the check out, I sheepishly explained the situation with the shoes as the cashier looked in to the box that now contained my busted up flip flops disinterestedly.
“Usually it’s the little kids who are too excited to wait until they get home that do this,” she said dryly as she scanned the mangled tag.
But, well, I got me some cool shoes. So there.