I've worn either contacts or glasses all my life as I can't see far away. Heck, I'm so blind I can barely see a few feet in front of me without some type of corrective lens. But I was always able to read books without benefit of ocular help. And then one day, I couldn't. I'm sure it wasn't as fast as all that, but it sure seems like it.
Looking back, I recalled the kids and I teasing their grandmother, Gretchen, about always losing her reading glasses. Now I have at least 10 pair of them, a pair in every nook and cranny of the house. Still, I'm always looking for them. Now they're teasing me.
Karma strikes again.
Slowly, my body is turning against me. Things that I used to do with ease, are now a production. Standing up comes to mind. If I'm sitting for any length of time, five minutes or five hours, standing up requires Herculean strength and comes complete with a soundtrack of my bones creaking. When did this happen?
Twenty years ago, I wore high heels from nine in the morning to nine at night. I was a purchasing agent for a lumber company, and then graduated to vice president of another. I wore power suits and carried a briefcase – even to job sites. These days, comfort is my mantra when purchasing any shoes. The briefcase has been replaced by tote bags that contain everything but the kitchen sink and the only power I want my suit to have is the power to resist wrinkling.
So when Matt and I were invited to an upscale dinner/benefit, I scoured my closet. I was trying to find something that wasn't faded, oversized, or made of some type of soft, cotton/polyester blend. The dresses I pulled out were a little on the “antique” side, so they wouldn't do. The only shoes I had were either scuffed sandals, worn out flip flops, outdated clogs or running shoes. I needed an update.
I went out to buy a dress, but instead, I found the cutest pair of shoes. I swear, as I walked by them they called my name and threw kisses at me. The thing is, they also came equipped with five inch stiletto heels. It had been ages since I'd worn heels, and the last time I did, I almost lost my balance and fell. I stood there mulling over this problem as the cute little straps and contrasting colors wove a spell over me. I had to have them.
I comforted myself with the knowledge that we were going to a dinner. All I'd have to do was walk in, sit down, eat dinner, and go home. So, there really wasn't any reason not to buy them. Well, that is, if you throw common sense out the window.
I've got a good arm.
Since they were an unusual color combination, a dress had to be purchased to match them. It took me the better part of two weeks of nonstop shopping to finally find “the dress." As activities go, it wasn't that big of an inconvenience.
The night of the event was upon us and I walked out in my beautiful new dress and killer shoes. Matt told me that he didn't remember me ever wearing the dress before and asked if it was new.
As he's the most frugal man in the world, I knew he'd have a fit if he knew that I'd bought the dress only because I bought the shoes first and I didn't have anything that would match them. Men don't get that concept even a little bit.
So, as I stood there, knowing that only two minutes ago I'd snipped off the price tags, I, um, fibbed, a little. OK, I lied; a big, fat whopper. I think it was something along the lines of “this old thing?”
We got to the fancy country club, and I have to be honest; I felt out of place. I can pretty much get along with most folks, but there's just something about country clubs that give me an inferiority complex. Well, that and the fact that I can pretty much guarantee that I'll manage to do something embarrassing or dumb. It usually involves me opening my mouth before my brain has a chance to catch up and slap duct tape over it. In my defense, after 23 years of marriage, if Matt insists on taking me to these hoity-toity dinners, he knows what he's in for.
Thankfully, I was able to conceal my discomfort as we walked from the large foyer into the dining room. I even did a good job of camouflaging my waddle. I'd be seated at our table soon, so I managed a big, dopey smile. Then I started looking around. There were tables around the perimeter of the room, covered with all kinds of merchandise. It wasn't just a dinner; it was a silent auction.
There was an hour before we'd be seated for dinner and until then, we were expected to peruse the offerings and bid on them. All I could think of was I'd been in my stilettos for all of 10 minutes, I was already beginning to lose my balance and my feet were starting to holler at me.
I frantically began to weigh my options, but sadly, they were limited. I could sit down at our table, but I'd be alone. No doubt Matt would have worried that something was wrong and I'd have to tell him about the shoes. I wasn't prepared to admit my little fib just yet.
I could go outside and find a bench to sit on, but it was the middle of a hot summer and having my makeup melt wasn't a good choice. I could scare children if that happened.
I weighed the option of going to the ladies' room to stay for a little while, but people might send security in to question the wacko lurking in the bathroom. I had no choice; I had to walk around and behave as if nothing was wrong.
I plastered on my best smile, and made the rounds. There were some really cool items up for auction, so at least I was distracted. In fact, I bid on a spa treatment – I figured I'd need a good foot massage after the evening. I didn't win, though.
Finally, we were told to take our seats and I hobbled over to our table as fast as my swollen, aching feet could carry me. The dinner was lovely and the guests at our table were interesting. I managed to wiggle my feet out of my shoes under the table, so I was feeling a bit better.
The end of the evening was finally upon us, and it was time to make the rounds to say goodbye. We shook hands, gave hugs, exchanged business cards and waved goodbye to every person in that room. We were finally going home; I said a silent prayer of thanks.
I said it too soon.
We were heading towards the door. I could see the finish line. Almost there. I was doddering as fast as my swollen feet could carry me. We almost reached the door, when John, an acquaintance of ours, called us back to the dining room. He was the one person we hadn't said goodbye to.
I couldn't believe it; Sanctuary - so close yet so far away.
We had to turn around and go back. I mustered every ounce of energy I had in order to keep up with Matt. I went as fast as my strappy sandals and wobbling ankles could carry me. I'm guessing I had a jolt of adrenaline, because I was moving along at a pretty good clip.
And that's when IT happened.
The heel of my stiletto caught on the threshold of the carpet and I launched myself at John. When I say launched, I mean it. I didn't do a dainty little, whoops, I tripped. It was as if I was launched out of a cannon, hurdling me at John, toppling the two of us, sending us both crashing to the ground. Football players would have envied the force with which I plowed us to the carpet.
As if things couldn't be worse, I felt a breeze on my backside. My skirt had flipped up over my underwear.
Somehow, I wasn't surprised.
As John got to his feet he helped me up, and began laughing. He broke the tension in the room when he said, “I've never had a woman fall head over heels for me before.” I could have kissed him. I did a little bow, and asked if everyone enjoyed the floor show. Thankfully, everyone laughed; it was finally time to head home.
When we got in the car, Matt asked when I was planning on telling him. After the hullabaloo in the dining room, I was a little confused. And that's when he asked how long it was going to take me to tell him about the new outfit. Turns out, he was actually amused the entire evening. Well, except for the whole linebacker incident.
I think I can say with a fair degree of certainty that the evening was a night those folks weren't soon going to forget. And those cute shoes? I took them for one last “trip” - to the Goodwill.