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It's Not About Shoes Even If They're Sweet

Shoe shopping in Paris


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At about Carry le Rouet it became obvious that the amount of walking I was doing was taking its toll on both my shoes and my feet. Part of the problem with my feet might have been related to the shoes I was wearing. (Sandals. The tennis shoes were fine, but when it's hot, I like being able to wear sandals and not tennis shoes.)

So in Avignon, my father and I stepped into a shoe store. (We might have stopped at more if we hadn't found out that they were in th middle of a major theater festival.) I had my father make a rough guess of what shoe size I was in Europe, tried on a pair of shoes, determined he was right, but the shoes weren't that comfortable, and left.

Most of the way into the week in Paris, my shoes were in much worse shape than my feet. The pair of sandals that I was wearing had a single thick strap that went over the feet. Half of one side of that strap broke. I could still walk in them, but it was pretty obvious that if I tried for too long, the rest of that side would break, and I would not be able to use that shoe anymore. So I needed a new pair of sandals.

Finding a pair of sandals in Paris? Should be easy, right?

There are some things I'm very good at buying, like books and yarn. There are other things I'm much worse at buying, like shoes.

The first couple of stores I passed when they were open I looked at the window, determined “yup! They sell shoes!” and walked on. After that I realized I was never going to buy a new pair of shoes if I didn't go into th store.

I went into three stores, determined they sold a lot of shoes, and left without trying any of them on. I was the only person in the fourth store, and the salesperson said high to me and asked if I needed anything. I said no, but when I stared at a shoe for long enough, he asked what size I was and brought over a box. I tried them on (they weren't very comfortable) then took them off and left.

I poked my head into a few more stores without buying anything. Then I remembered how much I hated the idea spending my last full day in Paris looking for shoes and stopped even walking into shoe stores, unless they looked really promising.

One shoe store looked really promising. I went in, and found a pair that looked extremely promising. When one of the employees came over to ask if I was l needed anything, I translated “do you have these shoes in a 40?” literally and hope that got across the meaning without making me look like I had no idea how French worked. (I spent French class learning vocabulary for things like “how to save the world” not “how to buy shoes.”) The employee talked into her headset, and explained to me that there was someone in back looking for them. (The store itself had no boxes, only single shoes on display. I wonder how big th back must have been.) After a bit more back-and-forth between the employee helping me and the employee with all the boxes, I was told that they didn't have those shoes. I thanked her and left.

So much for the idea of getting shoes in Paris.

When I was packing later that evening, I did not pack my sandals. I also did not wear them. I threw them out, and really hoped I'd find another pair of sandals in Luxembourg because I liked having a pair of sandals, but the pair I had been wearing wasn't worth the space it would take to pack, or the risk that they'd break as I was wearing them.

And then, on the way to the train station, with my family and carrying my suitcase, we notice a promising shoe store. So we go in. And, after a little browsing around, manage to find a pair of shoes that actually look comfortable. (Finding shoes in Paris is very easy. Finding comfortable ones is much harder.) After a little talking with the clerk, he finds a box with shoes that are close to my size, and I try them out. (This store has plenty of boxes in sight. However, the boxes have no correlation to the shoes that are on top of them, at least not that I could tell. I have no idea how the clerk knew where to look for th right box.) I try them on, and they both fit and are comfortable. So I buy them.

Now let's see if I can get through a week without killing another pair of sandals...

Posted by Soseki 09:41 Archived in France

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