Today, my morning routine was not quite routine. Sure, I woke up at the same time, and got out of bed, and ate, and brushed my teeth. But today, I didn't put my shoes on. I didn't put my socks on. Instead, I gazed at a pair of shark-shaped slippers that lay on my floor. I pondered the slippers. I enjoyed wearing them around the house on weekends and at night, but that had been the extent of their usage. Some part of me wanted change that and wear them today—to drive in them, to walk to school in them, and to come home in them—shark slippers. But my stomach was warning me not to. Twisting into knots of uncertainty and apprehension. Something about it was wrong—who the hell wears slippers outside? Something about it was disrespectful—wearing such comfortable clothing to a public area.
I sat for a good five minutes, letting my feelings play out inside me. A battle was happening between excitement and apprehension, rebellion and acceptance. These feelings never resolved, but it didn't matter—without thought, I pulled on the slippers, grabbed my car keys, and walked outside.
As I drove, my feet found themselves intimately familiar with the pedals of the car. The two were no longer divided by a thick sole; instead, a flimsy cloth. My foot couldn't act as a unit any more; instead, individual toes felt their way around the metal, sensing its shape, its grooves, feeling how the metal vibrates with the car. As I pressed down on the gas, my big toe and pinky toe hung off either side, unaccounted for in a world of flat shoes. And I had to reach further with my leg, sulking down in the seat. It was a novel, awkward experience, but not unenjoyable.
I parked where I always do, about a half-mile away from Blair through downright suburbia. I got out of the car and began my trek along the sidewalks, all designed expressly for walking. As I moved, my heel, like everybody's, struck down first, the rest of the step rolling along the sidewalk. But now, each heel-to-ground contact step sent a jolt up my leg, accompanied with shooting pain and shaking my eyesight twice a second. Walking, walking hurt.
I suppose I should have expected it. Concrete is hard, after all, and feet are not. And yet, I was surprised.
I wasn't surprised that concrete is hard, and I wasn't surprised that feet are soft. And I wasn't surprised that the combination of these facts meant pain. I was surprised, I suppose, in realizing that we don't really walk on our feet. We walk on our shoes.