A couple overburdened with Lord & Taylor bags got on the downtown train at 34th, and sat down next to me. The woman was telling the man how bad it was to wear flat shoes. "Your feet are right there on the sidewalk!" Apparently a secret of caring for your feet is never wearing the same shoes for more than a day at a time. "You got to alternate your footwear!" She was very certain in her views. You should also be sure never to leave any savings behind when you die. "You got to work it down! I ain't letting no-one else enjoy my money!" The man had bought her a present of jewelry, but he hadn't presented it to her yet, and she was angling for details. "I don't like no big stones on a bracelet!"
As the woman talked to her companion, I listened intently, pretending to work on the Friday crossword, and drawing my feet as far under the seat as possible. The talk of footwear struck a nerve. I'd hurt my foot a couple of days earlier, and it had become so swollen and bruised I'd had a hard time finding shoes around the house that I could bear to walk in. On day one, I was forced to shuffle to the corner store in a pair of oversized men's rainboots, and today I'd managed a pair of open-toed sandals. An unlikely choice for the season, but at least it wasn't raining. Yet. I was hopeful for a step-up to a sensible, closed-toe, walking shoe next. Oh, the dull, ungainly shame of it all! But hey, I was alternating. I was doing something right at least.