Funny (not necessarily “haha,” but sometimes that, too) how things sometimes start.
Somehow something got in my shoe.
It’s sort of like the sock that disappears in the dryer.
We don’t know how it happens, but it seems to.
In case you didn’t know, there’s actually a missing sock day — May 9.
I’m not sure how that was decided upon, but it’s been designated Lost Sock Awareness Day.
If you’re a believer in the Great Pumpkin of “Peanuts” lore, perhaps, for you, on that day, the god of lost socks comes out from where he dwells and works his magic.
All the missing socks get reunited with their partners, and all is well — if only for one day.
Perhaps, like Cinderella’s coach, which turns into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight, by May 10, the socks go missing again, and the owners of said socks have to wait another whole year before having a matching pair of certain socks.
Then the god of lost socks disappears for another year.
No doubt he has a good chuckle on his way out the door. Maybe he even wriggles a naked toe on which there is no sock.
Anyway, something got in my shoe. Not exactly a pebble, but maybe some debris.
I’m reminded of the fairy tale: The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), another Great Dane. To refresh your memory, the family of an eligible prince who had come of age sought a real princess for him to marry. All manner of imposters pretended to be the princess. It would be an honor to marry the prince. He was handsome, had money to burn, and the bride’s future would be assured.
So, like those young women who pretended to be Cinderella, they tried on the figurative glass slipper.
Only their glass slipper was an overnighter.
Their test was to sleep on a pea over which mattresses were piled. All slept wonderfully and said so. But in so doing, they sealed their fate.
“Don’t call us. We’ll call you,” they were told on their way out of the castle.
The prince was about to give up.
Until one dark and stormy night, a waterlogged young lady knocked on the castle door.
Bedraggled, she claimed to be a princess, but the prince was skeptical. He’d heard it all before.
His mother decided to test the wet one. She placed a pea on the floor, over which she heaped a padded mattress and 20 feather beds. The ostensible princess was put to bed.
In the morning, she was asked how she slept.
“Terribly!” she exclaimed. “I tossed and turned all night! It was like I was lying on something small and hard.” After that, the prince knew he’d found “The One.” They wed and lived happily ever after.
So I removed my shoe (a slip-on, which I’ve favored ever since I developed sciatica over a decade ago) and tried to shake out the debris.
I reached my hand in and, to my surprise, found the lining was worn, right under the ball of my left foot.
I took off the other shoe and checked its liner — no wear spots.
Then I remembered. My sciatica is mainly right-sided, and the shoe that had the worn liner was my left one. I favor my right side, unconsciously putting more weight on my left leg and foot.
What to do?
I was working away from home as a diagnostic radiologist at an imaging center.
I carry a couple of extra pairs of tennis shoes (thank you, Boy Scouts) In the trunk of my car. With any luck, they’d have some inserts which would diminish further wear on the liner on my loafers.
They did indeed.
I inserted the more durable inserts into the loafers, but their thickness was such that the loafers were too tight. The original liners could not be removed since they were sewn in.
So, after work, I went shoe shopping.
As an aside, I pose no competition to someone like Imelda Marcos, who, by legend, at one time had 3,000 pairs of shoes. I not only have just a few pairs, but what I have are rather inexpensive. I find the cheap ones wear just as well as the more expensive ones.
At the second store, I hit pay dirt. The loafers I found were lightweight and fit like a surgeon’s glove. I knew how Goldilocks must have felt in the house of the bears.
On my way out, all the checkout registers had lines. I got in one, behind a woman with a small boy in tow. Seeing I had only one pair of shoes, she graciously asked me if I wanted to go ahead of her. Her cart was full.
I told her, “Thank you, but I’ll wait my turn. The value of our time is equal.”
We don’t choose where and to whom we are born. We probably don’t have a lot of say as to how much education we get, which determines the job we’ll get, and determines, for some, where we shop — which may determine how long we have to wait in line.
Just as all men are purportedly created equal, so is our free time.
If I had accepted the kind offer of the woman in front of me, I’d be saying, in effect, “My time is worth more than yours.”
And I don’t believe that.
There were probably plenty of times she waited in line. This was but another.
It was my time to wait. And I intended to do so with a smile on my face, no less.
I had matching socks on both feet.
I didn’t need May 9.
Samuel M. Chen is a radiologist.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com