It was open house at the school where I teach tonight, which means days of preparation followed by two hours of meeting, greeting, and welcoming prospective parents and their kids to our school.
I wore nice pants with a casual sweater I wasn’t afraid to get dirty for the set-up part of my day, and also to teach in, because I knew if I wore my fancy duds all day I’d almost certainly have three different kinds of food stains on my clothes by four, not to mention board marker residue and pastels. Out of consideration for my piggies, which I knew would be trapped in dress shoes for the evening, I wore my skate sneakers for the day.
I don’t generally wear heels to work because I take an incredible number of steps in a work day. Our school also has concrete floors with hard tiles on top, so teaching in heeled shoes feels like a slow death by about eleven. I do, however, keep a pair of emergency heels in my desk in case I need to put on grown-up shoes for an unexpected meeting or if television crews show up at the school to give me some kind of unexpected literary award. Life tends to go better for optimists, right? My emergency heels are black with a little silver bow and trim. They are only a wee kitten heel; no high-risk footwear for this gal, thank you very much. Every woman should have a pair of sensible pretty shoes at work, alongside her extra deodorant, floss and emergency Swiss dark chocolate.
After all my set-up was done, and with three hours between me and home time at nine-ish, I put on my fluttery “this screams ‘art teacher'” top, slapped on a little more mascara, and prepared to don my emergency heels. I looked nice, hair up and twinkly earrings: the whole classy enchilada. The only problem was my foot would not fit into my shoe. Ugly stepsisters, I feel your pain. Now, I haven’t actually worn my emergency heels since early last school year, but my feet haven’t changed size so I didn’t anticipate any issues. What I didn’t account for in my wardrobe planning was the fact that I had a salty dinner last night and the salty leftovers for lunch today. My feet looked like those blow-up life vests from the airplanes, mostly inflated; I guess the combination of the sodium and a day of standing meant my normally cute little feet had morphed into bulging, pudgy versions of themselves.
I bent the shoes and warmed them up in my hands enough that I could just cram my feet inside, and thankfully the boot-cut bottoms of my dressy pants covered the tops of my swollen feet, which looked like a couple of lumps of rising dough in my pretty shoes. Luckily for me, teaching is largely a performance art. I am used to faking my way through just about anything, never letting the kids see me sweat (a critical survival tactic in a room full of teenagers) and putting other stuff aside to do my job. People who met me tonight probably didn’t realize I was dying below the ankle. I put on my happy face, because really, the only thing wrong with my life was my poor tootsies, but under the thumb of the pain those stupid shoes gave me I was grinning like a synchronized swimmer trying to hold in a fart.
I may need to get an alternate pair of emergency dress shoes. Does anyone know where I can buy a pair of fancy moccasins?
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