Sunday, August 17, 2008

Foreign visits

Pin It I sat in a world which was foreign to me. This was a land where the natives moved about with strange rituals—engaged in conversations which I could not understand. I simply did not know the language.

I was only a stranger here.

I would only be here for a short time.

I would not stay for long.

Welcome to Macy’s—the women’s shoe department.

My friend, Melanie, went with me ‘school shopping’ for clothes. I had to take her along—mostly because I have no objectivity and nearly always pick the absolute worst color combinations I possibly could. But, I’m a guy…one with no color sense so this is only to be expected.

As I sat waiting for Melanie to make her selections, I was taken back to a place in time going with my mother to fabric and craft stores. I remember wandering aimlessly around the said stores as a kid feeling bored out of my skull. I would rather have been dead…


I gazed about me at the other patrons. There were many others, like me, who were having just as much fun as I was. One man, sitting in a near comatose state, could have been dead. Only the shallow breathing lent to the impression that he was really still alive.

As I gazed around the department, I overhead the conversation between two girls whom I’ll surname as Marika & Shaniqua. These two girls were in the midst of a dilemma…which of two pairs of shoes would be the best. It was obvious that neither could quite make the decision as to what would be better…a shoe which was more comfortable, or one which had ‘the look.’

Finally, Shaniqua had the answer, “I’ve got it! You close your eyes and I’ll put one of each of the shoes on either of your feet. You stand up without looking at them and walk around. The shoe which feels the best, you can have that one.”

Marika agreed and they immediately set about putting this plan into action. I watched out of the corner of my eye, listening to snatches of their conversation:

Make sure you mix them up well so I don’t know which one is on what foot...
Now, no peeking...
Oh, I hope I pick the right ones…

Marika stood as the shoes were put onto her feet, and like Cinderella trying her new glass slippers before the ball, began to walk tentatively around the store. True to her word, she did not look down.

As she came back I waited to hear the verdict. It was but obvious that Marika was having quite the difficult time trying to decide which of the two really felt better. Finally, she drew out a long, belabored breath, “I think I like this one better.” She pointed down to one of her feet.

Her friend broke out laughing. “You’re wearing the same shoes!”

Marika looked down at the matching pair of shoes on her feet.

I couldn’t help but laugh at this joke which so easily fit into my own culture. It was like a breath of air which reminds you of home. It’s good to know that even when we travel to distant lands, there are universal threads which are common to us all.

But I’ll never go back.


Kris said...

I'm going to try that next time I have to shop for shoes with anyone. Great story!

annette said...

I thought it was YOUR good taste in clothes. Now I know...

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