I Bought A Pair of Running Shoes (And Now I Feel Like An Idiot)

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There are a few things in life that I am absolutely sure of: The earth is roundish, the sun rises every day, and I wear a size seven shoe. I am so sure of this last fact that I often buy shoes online or buy unreturnable sale shoes without even trying them on. I am a seven in every brand of shoe from Target to Louboutin. Of this I am sure.

So when I walked into a store I’ll call Local Running Store (I won’t use their real name, I’m not a hater) and asked, “May I please have these shoes in a seven?” I thought things would be pretty simple.

“Would you please take off your boots and run on our treadmill so that we can analyze your gait?” asked an earnest young woman. My what?

Why in the world would I get on a treadmill when I didn’t have to? “No, I’m not going to do that. But may I please have these shoes in a seven?” What she didn’t know is that I wasn’t even planning to try the shoes on, much less subject myself to a medical exam.

“I can’t sell you a pair of shoes without checking your gait.” Again, my what?

“There’s nothing you can do to get me on that treadmill.”

She consulted with her male colleague for maybe three minutes on the subject and returned asking me to just walk to the entrance of the store and back so they could see my walking gait. I obliged, awkwardly, ignoring the voice in my head that was shouting, “Keep walking! Go toward the light!”

When I returned to them, they talked for a while and concluded that, in fact, my gait was normal. “So may I please have these shoes in a seven?”

I felt like I’d accomplished something when she agreed to go downstairs and get the shoes. She returned with two boxes, “I thought I’d have you try the seven and a half because you seem like more of a seven and a half.”

Now I had the giggles. I seem like a seven and a half? How does one give off the vibe of a shoe size? I could see how she might think that I seemed like a person who might be losing her patience, but a seven and a half? How can you seem like that?

Again she discussed it with her colleague and they agreed that I, in fact, seemed more like a seven and a half. I grabbed the box with that heavenly little 7 in the lower right hand corner and began to try on the shoes to prove myself right.

And, guess what? They fit perfectly! I felt terrific!

The salespeople shook their heads. “Those are too small.”

“They feel great.”

“We’ve had extensive training.” The young woman really said that.

And I didn’t want to insult her extensive training. I know what it’s like to have extensive training and have people still think you don’t know what you’re talking about. I was starting to understand that my desire to just grab a pair of shoes and leave was an insult to her education. So I tried on the size seven and a half shoes to be nice.

“They’re too big,” I apologized. I wondered if they’d had to pay for all this training.

And then something happened that I’m really not proud of. It’s the part that makes me pretty sure I might be an idiot. I sat on the little shoe-trying-on bench and I listened to the two of them, in tandem, explain to me why that big pair of shoes really fit. They used shoe jargon and running lingo. And they were so darn sure of themselves. I’d seen Hari Krishnas with less conviction. I thought: maybe the earth is flat. I bought those size seven and a half clown shoes and left.

This morning I took them out for a spin. I have a pretty good blister working on the back of my heel from where my foot slides in and out of the shoe when I run. I’m still asking, “May I please have these shoes in a seven?”

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