I work at a silent writers’ space, essentially a big room with a bunch of carrels where people can go to get out of their cramped NYC apartments, and in my case, away from the siren song of the refrigerator. There is NO TALKING and no beeping cell phones and it’s taken really seriously, which is good.
But that means that out in the common space, where you’re also not supposed to have long and loud conversations, many long and loud conversations take place, because, well, no one wants to go back into that cacophonously quiet room and work, what with all the good procrastination to be had.
So today I see Jessica, a woman my age with whom I’ve previously bonded about the fact that we both wear size 42, or 11 shoes, which are hideously hard to come by, for many reasons but mostly because the competition for the one size 11 most stores order (if a shoe even comes in that size) is fierce. Here in NYC people hoof it, and while I have no evidence, I believe the fact that I now wear an 11 (up from a 10 years ago) is due to the force of several times my weight with each step. Do that for 43 years and you’ve got a closet full of tiny kayaks.
I look at her feet. She looks at mine. Our eyes meet. We’re both wearing shoes from Sacco, a small chain of stores here that only recently went belly up. Immediately we began our long and loud conversation about what a tragedy this will be for us, because they were the only good store that regularly stocked our size. They treated us like women, damn it, not as freaks with gigantic water skis for feet! [Those are actual Sacco boots–incredibly comfortable, truly, not in that macha way some women have of bragging about how they can wear heels all day long and not feel a thing. Why do people do that?]
Doing anything not to have to go back to our computers, we vow to start a blog on the subject of women with big feet and the shoe travails we must endure because of what we are certain is size discrimination. On the blog, we will post pictures of cool shoes that are available in size 11, demand will rise, and we will thus change the world, one pair of ballet flats at a time.
As happens at the dawn of potentially life-altering career decisions, we ask ourselves: What kind of people are we? Jessica quickly asserts that she, at least, is not noble enough to do this blog because if we tell the world where they can find the lone pair of size 11 shoes that a store has ordered, we cannot possibly own those shoes ourselves. I point out that we’d have right of first refusal on the shoes, and that honestly, we can’t own every single pair of size 11 shoes, simply because there’s a scarcity. We’d be shoe hoarders. I’m already a shoe hoarder. It’s bad.
And so we make a future plan to have a future loud and long conversation about our future blog and how to monetize it, and go back to work, happy to be women because we can create a satisfying social interaction out of absolutely nothing.