I learned two very valuable lessons from the movie Forest Gump: 1.) with determination, anyone can accomplish great things 2.) take really good care of your feet. While that whole determination thing will take off eventually, I’ve focused quite a bit more on keeping my primary modes of transportation in tip top shape. Unfortunately, the one person who I’d think would be the most supportive in terms of foot care is single-handedly undermining the entire maintenance operation.
As some of you may know, my wife and I traveled to Paris this past weekend, a dream she’s had since she was a young girl and a chance for me to see some cool old stuff and eat really good food. Assuming that we’d be doing quite a bit of walking, I set aside a comfortable pair of shoes with exquisite arch support for the trip. We were packing light due to luggage restrictions on the plane, so I didn’t plan on bringing more than one pair of shoes since she would be needing to pack five, so I assumed that comfort and foot health took a priority over style. I was completely wrong.
When my wife arrived home from work the day before the trip, she did a once over of the items we’d be bringing. She was more or less satisfied with the rest of my clothing choices, but her eyes stopped on the bright yellow pair of Nikes that were nestled among the rest of my gear. She didn’t need to say anything as I recognized the disapproving look on her face, a kind of focused stare usually reserved for car mechanics inspecting an engine. I always assumed that she was just trying to rationalize my choice, which with time I figured she’d be able to do. In actuality, she was waiting for me to step in and change my choice in footwear.
She already had the weekend visualized in her mind and in that visualization I wasn’t wearing comfortable tennis shoes. I protested, but she held fast. She assured me that while we’d do a bit of walking, it’d be really tough to see everything Paris had to offer without taking advantage of public transportation.
“Besides,” she’d said “ do you want to be the only guy in Paris wearing tennis shoes?”
I conceded due to the fact that she was excited about the trip and I figured I could tough it out for a while. Besides, I wasn’t exactly overflowing with romantic knowledge so the least I could do was put on a decent pair of shoes right? Wrong. There happens to be a third lesson that is often missed in the movie Forest Gump; the women in your life will make you cry.
If we walked less than 15 miles during our three days in Paris I would be surprised. It was a nonstop foot race to see everything France’s hot spot had to offer and then some. I’m quite proud of the fact that we were able to experiences things like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe but I never expected to do so without the proper foot protection. I was hurting and while I hate to compare my foot pain to what pregnant women refer to when they talk about foot pain, my feet hurt worse than that of a pregnant woman’s (though don’t worry, I won’t compare the tummy ache I got from drinking too much coffee to child birth, so put down the pitch forks).
Even though she knew that she was wrong about forcing the aforementioned “nice shoes” upon my poor feet, she’s a headstrong lady and pointed out all the people wearing shoes that were way fanciers and as a result more uncomfortable than mine. I pointed out that those people were stepping out of things like buses, taxis and expensive sports cars, all items that perpetuate movement without the individual needing to put their toes to the pavement. These people were not doing a half marathon’s worth of tourism, these people were going to coffee shops and bistros to take a “load off”.
The thing is, I wouldn’t have even been the only dude in Paris who was wearing tennis shoes since about fifty percent of all the tourists there were properly equipped. They looked at me and instead of judging me for my lack of fashion, they judged me for the lack of foresight. Granted, most of them had disappointed wives trailing behind them, but their feet looked fresh and happy while mine were used and abused.
There are times to listen to your wife and there are times t0 ignore her pleas. When it comes to footwear, a stern but polite, “I’m going to go ahead and shoot for comfort” is always the best option.