Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 47: If the Shoe Fits . . .

In these shoes?

I don't think so.

Kirsty MacColl


After a 4 1/2-hour drive that stretched out to 6+ hours with traffic jams, we rewarded ourselves in Cambridge last night by going for a nice dinner at the East Coast Grill, which had rave reviews that were well earned if our meals were anything to go by.

With only a day and half left in the US it was probably inevitable that we would review our trip, but we did do it in the way that only LK and I can do. No mention of the Grand Tetons or Yellowstone. No reminiscences about friends and family. No, as nearly always happens at this stage of the trip we talked about why the luggage was so heavy and why we had to pay extra to ship boxes home.

Linda insisted it wasn't her shopping. "I hardly bought anything," she said - which is a fairly remarkable thing to tell me given that I was with her about 90% of the time she was shopping. I don't often challenge my darling, but that second martini at the restaurant made me reckless.

I decided to challenge on an area where I had some first-hand knowledge, given that I had been with her one day in Rutland when she purchased five pairs of shoes in the space of a two hours.

"What about your footwear?" I asked.

She took my question quite seriously and thought for a second before asking me a question that I believe only Linda could ask. "Do I include the flip-flops?"

Because, you see, it appears that she only bought the flip-flops because they were cute and they do not to her way of thinking actually belong in the collection she thinks of as her footwear.

OK, I agreed, leave out the flip-flops.

In that case, she said, six pairs of shoes - a pair of London Soles she got in Caifornia, three keds, the water-walking shoes and the dock shoes she got in Rutland.

What about your other dock-siders and slip-ons? I asked. Oh, well, she pointed out. Those had been ordered online months and months ago and couldn't be counted in this trip's haul.

So, I asked, after digesting that bit of logic, how many shoes did you pack to bring on this trip?

"Well," she said after a moment's tally, "I brought two pairs of London Soles and one pair that looks like London Soles but isn't. And I bought three pairs of flip-flops."

But should we count flip-flops? I asked, remembering the earlier conversation.

Stupid me. It seems the flip-flops she bought on this trip are nothing like the flip-flops she packed in Sydney. Those three packed pairs are leather and more up-scale so they actually qualify to be part of the official footwear collection.

Which led me to the ultimate question about the official footwear collection: How many pairs of footwear do you own? If you count everything including boots, clogs, sneakers, flip-flops and whatever else goes on your feet, just how many shoes do you own?

LK had to take a moment to think. Then she asked, "What's 47 and 39?"

I told her it was 86, and she thought for about 2 seconds more. "OK," she said, "it's about 215 pairs."

There are moments in some of these conversations with LK when I know that continuing will only make me crazy. So, yes, I could have asked why she was adding 47 and 39. I could have asked what that sum of 86 had to do with 215.

Or I could do what I did at dinner last night. I waved to the waiter and ordered a third martini.

And when we got back to the room, I did what George Burns taught us all so well. I said goodnight, Gracie.

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