I got up the nerve to call the place I ordered the boots from today, and the woman did not call me a moron. She said that my boots were very popular, and that no one ever returned them.
Really? No one? is what I was thinking. But I said, “Well, they are very cute.”
“Yeah!” the shoe woman said.
Then she said, “There are three ways to get them on.”
Conveniently, I was calling from work, so I had a reporter’s notebook right at hand.
“The first one is to fold the boots over,” she said, after cautioning that I should be wearing nylons, since bare feet would get stuck. “And then pull from the back of the boot. Everyone tries to pull from the front, but that doesn’t work.”
I wrote down: 1. Nylons. Fold boots, pull from back.
“The second one is to — it sounds weird — put your feet in plastic bags, and then slide them into the boots.”
2. Plastic bags!
“Interesting,” I said. “I definitely wouldn’t have thought of that.”
“You just rip the bag off your foot, once you get the boot on.”
“Right,” I said. “Well, OK, I’ll try these and see how it goes.” I should get back to work is what I was thinking.
“And the third thing,” the shoe woman said, as if I had not just tried to extricate myself from this conversation. “What is the third thing, let me see.”
There was an awkward pause.
“Oh! The third thing is you can try putting baby powder in the boots. That always helps.”
I wrote: 3. baby powder, always helps.
“Ok, got it,” I said.
“They’re hard to put on at first,” shoe woman said, “but they stretch out. I swear! It gets easier.”
“Are they as hard to take off as they are to put on?”
Another awkward pause.
“Wellll… you might need some assistance,” she said. “But they really are great boots!”
Yeah, really great is what I was thinking.
“Thank you for the tips,” I said. “I’ll try these out when I get home.”
Shoe woman said: “Whooo! Alright! Good luck!”
Really. She wished me luck.
Putting aside the fact that since the boots arrived it has been downright balmy in San Francisco thus negating the need for said boots at all and making the aforementioned and disparaged flowy skirts and skimpy shirts a necessity, and putting aside the fact that I had to stifle my giggles throughout much of the conversation with perky shoe woman, I knew that I would nevertheless try items 1, 2, and 3 on my list of Ways to Get Beloved Expensive Boots On. I had to.
After dinner tonight, I went upstairs to face the boots. I again pulled them carefully from their wrappings. Looked at their cute buttons. It’s possible I stroked their soft leather. Then I got focused. Slid on some stockings — with my shorts, because it’s currently that hot in SF — and then folded over boot #1 and stuck my foot carefully into the opening. No luck. I tried Billy’s shoe horn. Nothing. Foot still stuck in the ankle. Give it up, Elizabeth is what I was thinking. Let it go.
But alas, I did not give up. I could not let it go. I went into my office and found a plastic bag and slid it on my foot. I slid my foot into the boot opening again, but this time, my foot kept going. All the way into the toe of the boot. I had one boot on! I was so pleased with myself that I hobbled down the stairs wearing one boot, got another plastic bag from the pantry, and with dog staring at me the whole time (no doubt plotting how he could kidnap and eat the boots), hobbled back up the stairs again. With my other foot in a bag, the second boot pulled right on.
I had the boots on!
And my feet in plastic bags, inside the boots. When I walked, they made crinkling sounds. Also, my feet were very, very hot.
I remembered perky shoe woman’s advice: Just rip the bags off your feet! Conveniently, the handles of the Safeway bag boiling my right foot were sticking out of the boot, so I tugged. It kind of hurt, and the bag did not rip.
Still, I had the boots on! And they looked pretty darn good, if I do say so. So they crinkle a little. And my feet were approximately four million degrees, sweating in plastic. And it required extreme contortion and assistance from Billy to get the boots off again.
They really are great boots.