Friday, March 10, 2006

Deep And Wide

When I was pregnant with Alex, I tried to do a little wheeling and dealing with God about what I hoped Alex would inherit from me and what I hoped he'd inherit from his daddy (who is in fact David, as this is not a soap opera, and I do not have any Big Surprise Announcements regarding least not until the DNA tests come back from the lab).

Oh, I'm kidding.

From me, I hoped Alex would get blue eyes, a curiosity about people, and a sense of self-confidence that is in no way deserved and/or based in reality but has served me pretty well nonetheless.

From his daddy, I hoped he'd get an analytical mind, patience, the ability to assemble intricate toys and shelving units with joy only rivaled by that which comes from the Lord, and olive-colored skin. God laughed at the olive-colored skin tone part and instead made Alex the palest pale in all of paledom, but if he has those other three traits, we'll be in fine shape indeed.

I also prayed that Alex would get his daddy's feet. It's not that my feet are deformed or anything. But they're wide, and they have arches with the same basic curvature as that large, famous structure that dominates the skyline in St. Louis. It's hard for me to find shoes that fit, because my arch makes the top part of my foot so high that I can't fit it in a great many of the shoes I try on. Sister is the same way. We try our best...we cram and ram and shoehorn our way into just about every cute shoe we see...but more often than not, we're disappointed. Strappy high-heeled sandals? Forget it. I've tried...but the only place my foot actually touches the shoe is at the toes. The rest of my foot goes into this jacked up position so that I appear to be either a) readying for a performance from "The Nutcracker" or b) practicing calf-building exercises. To add insult to injury, the straps inevitably cut into the top of my feet as a result of all the cramming and jamming, leaving lovely red and sometimes bleeding indentions where the cutesy cute straps should be.

The good thing about having feet like mine is that those shoes at Walmart? The ones that say "WIDE" on the box? The ones that, if normal-footed people tried to wear them and take more than one step, would fly off the foot at such velocity as to cause injury to innocent passersby? Those shoes fit me great. In fact, just about every time I try on a new pair of Walmart designer footwear, I think, "Hey! These fit me pretty perfectly. I must be Walmarterella!"

Alas and alack, God laughed once more and gave Alex my feet. Wide. High arches. Long like his daddy's - but nowhere close to narrow. Since we don't want his toes to curl in on themselves or his arches to start to give way, we have to buy Good Shoes for him. We'll save the cheap shoes for when his feet are fully formed and we need to teach him a lesson in humility.

Now typically David takes Alex shoe shopping. Apparently the footwear that I find "adorable" sometimes crosses the line into "cutesy," so David picks out A.'s shoes, which in turn convey the message "I Am A Rough and Tumble Little Boy." Since all of Alex's shoes have gotten a little snug as of late, we figured it was time to visit the Local Children's Footwear Shoppe (in our house we like to pronounce it like "shop-pey," just for kicks).

Which brings us to yesterday's trip to the shoe shoppe. After Alex had a near breakdown over the life-altering trauma of having his foot measured, David picked out a couple of styles for him to try. Alex's size wasn't in stock in either style, but then D. spied his all-time favorite shoes, only in kids' sizes. Then the following exchange occurred:

David: "Oh, I didn't know you had Keens in his size. Let's try those. I love mine."
Saleswoman: [look of distaste and shock] "REALLY?!?! I think they look like CLOWN SHOES."

Please do take a moment to consider all the many reasons why the saleswoman's response was inappropriate.

I can list a few for you if you're having trouble. I imagine, however, that you're already up to at least, oh, 4 or 5. And I'm not saying the woman had to fawn over D.'s shoe selections or anything like that, but it just struck me as an odd choice, dissing your customer's taste and losing a potential sale. Call me crazy.

David, to his credit, was perfectly well-behaved. He said, "Oh. Okay. Really? Well, thanks a lot for your help," and proceeded to get the heck out of Dodge.

So ye olde shoe shoppe is out of the running for Alex's new kicks. Given the width - and the arch - I'm not sure where we'll go next. Maybe there's another shoppe with the same brands and friendlier employees. Maybe we'll luck out at a sporting goods store and find some tennis shoes. Maybe we'll just let him run around in his bare feet all summer and give him a taste of hillbilly life.

Or maybe we'll just take him shoe shopping Walmart. At least we know they carry wide ones.


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