I packed a pair of black sandals only to discover that one went AWOL in Texas. There was no choice. This is New York. I had to have a pair of black shoes. It's part of the official uniform.
Columbus Circle to the kind of store where they know how a shoe should fit a lady's foot. I am drawn to the flats, comfortable and conservative, although they accentuate my petite stature, and not in a good way.
The salesman suggests a pair of open-toed sling-back heels. What the heck...I'm having a "Pretty Woman" kind of day. I'll try them on.
I seldom wear open-toed shoes since I've only had two pedicures in my life and I don't feel as if I have anything to show off. But I had at least put polish on, so how bad could it be?
Eric - we are on a first name basis now - returned with the chocolate-brown box and unwrapped the ivory tissue paper as if a treasure awaited. I suppose shoes are a treasure to most women, but my half-German nature makes me too practical for my own good.
But I slip them on, and I am in love. I could be sixty pounds overweight with not a shred of makeup, and these heels would say, "I am sexy".
I deliver my credit card to Eric and wonder how many Marriott points I'll rack up after tax.
I tell him that I want to wear them out, and I hand him my old shoes. With the discretion of a priest, he does not turn his nose up at them, and places the impostors delicately in the designer box.
The shoes have the magic qualities of the ruby slippers that I just saw in "Wicked" the day before. I am taller. I have confidence. I am a New Yorker.
I walk twenty seven blocks without breaking a sweat or developing a blister.
I decide to treat myself to a nice dinner after several nights of eating grocery store take-out to save money. I take the escalator to the fourth floor of the Time Warner Building. I have the sense, thankfully, to check out the menus first. $275 for a Pre Fixe meal. I look inside where tables are brimming with patrons, and have hope for the economy. I politely decline the maitre d's offer to sit down, thinking that I could buy nearly two pairs of shoes for that price.
I dine instead at A Voce - a swanky place one story down, which appears to specialize in modern Italian food. The entrees are reasonable, in their twenties.
I am seated next to several girls, also in their twenties. The tables are so close that I feel I am one of their party. They are excited about some "big event" tonight where there will be "lots of guys".
I smile at the thought of my husband and kids, glad that this scene is not my regular one. I have no aspirations to be Carrie Bradshaw, although I do want to see the movie. I am content with my cozy familial existence, punctuated with the staccato of urban travel.
I look at the menu and feel that there's room in the budget for an appetizer and a drink. I order an amaretto sour and peruse the menu. To start, I choose pancetta sprinkled with figs and pistachios. It's topped with a light drizzle of Balsamic vinegar. I follow with the mushroom ravioli.
But back to the shoes. I realize the full effect of their power after I've gotten up from my seat. The waiter, who was perfunctorily polite during dinner, looks at my feet. His eyes widen and his mouth opens with practiced discretion.
"I love your shoes," he says, and I wonder if it is just a line. But he's not done.
"They fit you perfectly. I've never seen feet that look so right in open-toed sling-back heels."
I am not kidding. This is a direct quote.
I think immediately of "Legally Blonde" where Elle encounters a star witness at a water fountain.
Prada shoes at me!" he says impatiently.
A light goes off in Elle's head, perhaps for the first time in the whole movie. "Straight men don't know shoes." He must be gay. Therefore, he was not cuckolding the owner of the house. Case closed.
The waiter sends me off with my leftovers saying, "Come back and see me soon!"
I'm sure that he's talking to the shoes.