I bought my very first pair of ballet flats earlier this year under great duress and solely because of nagging foot pain that was becoming biblical in proportion. The bloody things hurt my heels - its like I've spent so many years on the balls of my feet that any pressure on my heels feels strange and awful.
Why the whinge you ask? Because I work in a shoe store and I'm required to stand/scurry/run after/climb ladders for no less than 5 hours at a stretch. NO SITTING. I am, however, very guilty of kneeling on the couches to catch a moment of blessed relief from the burn that creeps up my toes.
It's only recently that I've been finding the work shifts particularly difficult for pain management. My Regional Manager is such a freaking diehard that she actually pops pain meds regularly instead of wear flats - and I get the psychology behind it, but my Mum raised me with an enormous fear of any kind of pills that were'nt from the naturopath and as such, my siblings and I have, at times, suffered fairly extreme injuries (broken bits, surgeries, ruptured things...) without any meds. When we do it will be 1 (one) panadol which then makes us woozy as our drug tolerance is nill. My bro had a shoulder reconstruction some years ago and was a total gangsta about the pain when, after a considerable number of hours post-op, a nurse came in and discovered that his morphine drip had never been turned on. My sis and I were so proud! One shot of it and he slept for like, 12 hours straight. We would be the first to drop dead in germ warfare though... what was I saying?
Shoes! I have strong views on shoes, as I was saying, I'm really suffering for it. And - I have a feeling I may have done my dash this time.
Let me take you through yesterday so as to detail when it all came crashing down, foot wise.
11.25: Arrive at store to commence 5 hour shift.
11.26: Call regional manager to ask permission to purchase new work shoes at half price. She asks which ones I want, is rapt that I'm staunchly keeping the flag flying for the diehard heels-girls and grants permission.
The shoes is question look like these Louboutins. Complete with Betty-Boop platforms and bows.
11.28: Manager and one of my best friends, Mel, processes the sale whilst predicting witchily that I will regret this and be kneeling on aforementioned couches before 2pm. I tell her that I will 'man-up' the likes of which she's never seen and stay off the couches all shift.
12.00: It's the first day of our half-price sale, and as such, we have literally been running like arseholes after mutant customers who think nothing of having full-blown tantrums when we have sold out of their size/ wont hold shoes for them. Fun. NOT. I have a theory that women, unfortunately, reveal their true colours when it comes to shoes on sale. It's literally like Dorian Gray - a pretty, erstwhile polite female mutates into an ugly, swearing demon when told she can't get what she wants.
12.36: Look, they just need to stretch, that's all! I'm standing at the counter surreptitiously sliding my feet out of my pretty peep toes and bending them back into shape. "You are being a pussy, Rianna! You call yourself a doll!! Shame on you!!" The voice in my head snaps me back to reality and I try to make sparkling conversation with Mel, who is already twittering away that she told me so...
13.00: Not happy, foul customers, too many trips up ladders in the store room, tripping over people, chucking boxes everywhere and an all-too familiar burn in both my soles.
14.00: Mel has brought me a cupcake in the hope that it will bring me back from the horrid mood into which I've descended. I can feel myself pulling faces/making plithy replies when customers get in my face and generally failing to control a growing pain-induced rage from bubbling up and shooting out my ears.
14.30: 2 hours to go. We've been so busy I've missed seeing my lover, there is stuff everywhere, women are throwing shoes all over the place and I'm trying very hard to behave as Mel and Katie have both been here since 7.30am and were here until 7.30pm last night. Katie has put lollies out the back. Everyone wants boots which involves clambering up and down ladders to get a single pair and then replacing them/gathering more.
14.46: A customer requests no less than 5 different pairs to try on. Can she not feel my torment?? I attempt to storm/shuffle out the back, get the shoes from all round the place and take them back out to her in which time she has found approximately 15 more pairs that she wants to try. She has failed to say one "Please", thereby incurring my wrath to the point that I'm refusing to get her anymore, so I'm sitting out the back, being very naughty, and touching up my lippy.
15.00: I get to go on an 'outing' to the repairers. I'd usually trip down the street gleefully, but today I hobble as gracefully as possible. The underneath of my feet have gone a vivid blue colour and my pretty shoes literally feel like torture instruments strapped to my body. Torture instruments that involve needles. Calves are aching in a previously unknown way. Mel has caught me kneeling no less than 3 times.
15.30: One hour to go. I made the mistake of taking them off and massaging my feet only to have to put them back on - never do this. Not ever. It hurts less to just keep them on; taking them off and putting them back on increases the pain ten fold.
15.55: I'm seeing stars. The world is spinning.
16.27: I'm trying not to cry when a customer approaches me. Commonly referred to as a 'Gatherer', she's systematically gone around the store picking up anything that catches her eye and then dumping about 10 different styles into my arms and saying that she wants to try them all. They are also notorious for not knowing what size they are which results in innumerable trips back and forth/up and down ladders to get 2 sizes bigger than what they originally told you they were, they also tend to be the type who is killing time and will leave you in the midst of a tsunami of shoes when their friend arrives to collect them without spending a cent. I dutifully gather them and then turn a wobbly chin and puppy eyes on Mel and she takes over for me.
17.10: At home and Miss B is going mental running round with her leash as its now walk time. I whip off my fishnets and sit down to inspect the damage and discover two perfectly plum-like little 'smudges' on the bones of my big toes. Thinking it must be dye that has rubbed off on my feet I take a sponge and try to scrub at them only to realise... THEY'RE BRUISES.
17.20: Walking Bear with feet encased in fluffy socks and joggers, I reflect on the debacle and think... there must be a better way....maybe its time to make friends with ballet flats after all. But don't tell Mel I said so.