The Great Boot Explosion

  We had an unusually heavy snowfall mixed with rain the other night and in the morning the streets were treacherous. I don’t have any proper winter boots right now, so I thought I’d wear my old hiking boots and felt downright smug as I walked to the station and watched other people slipping around in their ordinary shoes.

I got to the office without event, then about an hour later, one of my boot soles fell off. And then an hour after that, the other one fell off. Then I noticed that I was tracking nasty, crumbly, black rubber bits all over the place. We grabbed some packing tape and my colleagues helped me patch myself together.

As we got back to our papers, I said, “It’s just kind of embarrassing. I look like a homeless person.” The woman sitting next to me didn’t look up, just said quietly, “Nah. Homeless people have better shoes than that.”

I made it back to my station, tape flapping and making crunchy noises and people pretending not to notice. Lucky for me, The Amazing Changing Store had just the day before been selling cosmetics, but switched to 1000yen shoes that morning. I bought a pair of brown boots and snuck into an alley to put them on. The good thing is that they fit perfectly. I have Japanese feet—very small and very wide and the standard width here is double or triple E.

The hiking boots went directly into the trash when I got home. Shame on you, L L Bean.


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