There could be no better example of "city girl-country girl" than what happened to me yesterday! I was working at the church office, and although there are only three of us there, I treat my church office with the same respect as I did the office in the downtown skyscraper where I worked for 14 years, meaning I wear appropriate office attire rather than small-town fleece and crocs. So on this day I was wearing black dress pants, a charcoal-gray turtleneck, a black, gray and magenta floral scarf around my neck, a sleek pony tail, big silver hoop earrings and high-heeled black boots. So far, so good. I had my latte and my space heater and a window with a view of the mountains, and I was quite happily working. The day took an odd twist, though, due to our car situation. My oldest son has been using our car to commute to school in Portland, so my husband and I have to be creative in working out our transportation issues with the remaining shared vehicle. My son dropped me off in the morning on his way to school and I thought my husband would take me home, but he had some place to be for the afternoon. No problem, I thought. My younger son could pick me up on his way home from his school in Portland (I have three college kids, two of whom live on campus in Portland and come home every weekend and one who lives at home and commutes to Portland on weekdays). Well, that didn't happen. So now I'm stuck, but I had to get home to start my real job, the one I get paid for (online medical transcription), and my home is 4 miles from the church. I had no choice. I packed up my laptop, put my lunch containers and water bottle in my purse, put the pair of jeans I was supposed to take to the tailors into my laptop bag, grabbed my latte and headed out the door, my high heels clicking purposefully across the asphalt of the shoulder of the road like I always walked like this and looked this way. In the country, there are no sidewalks, no cabs to call or buses to catch. It wasn't the 4-mile forced march that bothered me...I actually love walking (unlike jogging) and can truly walk for hours when I have gorgeous scenery to enjoy. My concern was my footwear and the extra weight I was carrying. The first part of the hike wasn't too bad, as the shoulders were wide, but it was the second mile that was challenging. The road dips steeply as it heads into a ravine and narrows until there is no shoulder at all...the white line is the very edge of the road. Every time a car came, I had to jump in the ditch filled with gravel, rocks, branches and debris...and even a fresh skunk carcass! I know I looked incredibly odd crawling out of the ditch in high heels, carrying my laptop case, latte and big-bag purse (I really like big-bag purses...so much so I actually won an essay contest entitled, "In Defense of My Big Bag" and scored a $500 purse as first prize!). Finally, I was through the ravine, up the hill, and back on level ground. By now my feet were killing me. I tried walking in the grass but it was too soggy after a week of rain, so back to the gravel I returned. The road took a beautiful curve north, which was the opposite direction I was going, before it returned south, as mountain roads often do. In a car this is nothing more than sway left, sway right, but on foot it looked like a whole lot more pain, so bringing to mind that "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line," I forged on directly ahead...right through a hazelnut orchard. Okay, I knew I looked odd crawling in and out of the ditch, but at least passersby would think, "Poor girl, she has to walk this narrow road." Now, there was no obvious reason why I should be tromping through the trees, mud and hazelnut shells in high heels with a laptop and a latte. People wouldn't think I looked odd, they'd think I was odd! By now I actually wanted to laugh, but that would be weirder still. Have you ever heard a stranger laugh outloud for no reason? You automatically think they have "issues." So I laughed on the inside and emerged from the orchard, climbed over the railroad tracks, crossed a gravel lot, and set foot within city limits...and sidewalks! Now my pace picked up, but so did my pain. Concrete is very hard. I pushed through town, crossed our one and only busy highway, and was on the home stretch. As I was walking up my driveway I just couldn't wait to tell whoever was there about my amazing but pitiful feat (feet?). I was ready for a good dose of sympathy, a soft chair and a foot rub. I opened the door and called out, "Hi, I'm home." Silence. I dropped my bags and coffee and uncurled my stiffened fingers then pried off my muddy high-heeled boots. I walked through the house looking...opened my daughter's bedroom door. No one home! All that walking...all that adventure and not a single person to share it with? That was worse than the trip! There was nothing left to do but climb the stairs to my desk and begin my second job. And next week when I work at the church office, I am wearing fleece and crocs.
P.S. I showed my husband my blisters that night and he gave me a back rub, because I wouldn't let him touch my sore feet!