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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Saga of the Muddy Boots

I made a friend in the elevator at work this morning, and made myself look silly in the elevator at home. Both of these incidents came about because of a very troublesome pair of boots.

I have these very large, fairly waterproof black boots. I wore them when I was at the March for Life and the poor things got so caked in mud that, a month later, they still looked dreadful. I didn't know what to do about it except wait for a really good rainstorm (I don't have a hose and I didn't want to dirty the bathtub). So the boots sat in my room, all this time, looking at me forlornly.

Like this but cuter

This morning I awoke to the rainy day of my dreams. The sky was gray and noisy. Veritable lakes of puddles covered the sidewalk. I decided not to blow-dry my hair because I knew it didn't stand a chance on a day like this.

Frank picked me up for Mass and then we cooked breakfast at my house. He was driving to class this morning so he offered to give me a ride to the metro. Just as I was walking out the door in a pair of high heels, I remembered the boots.

"Oh! Wait!" I exclaimed, running back to grab them. "My boots! I have to get them all wet today so they'll finally be clean!"

"Do you want to put them on now?" he offered kindly. But I knew we were short on time and I didn't want him to be late for class.

"Nah, it's fine," I said. "I'll put them on in the elevator."

We pressed the button and stepped into an empty elevator. Working quickly, I took off one of my high heels and stuffed it into my bag. I shoved my foot into a boot, but just as I got it on all the way, the elevator "dinged."

Drat. Other people.

I looked down at my feet. One was clad in a knee-high rubber boot and the other in a very high heel.

This is going to be awkward.

Three other people got on. Now the elevator was so full that I didn't have room to bend over and put the other boot on. Doing my best to look dignified, I clutched the mud-caked boot and tried to hide it behind the bag containing my high heel. I prayed that no one would look down.

The elevator "dinged" again. Not more people, I thought.

A blond girl got on. Her hair was nicely done, her outfit was perfect.

Worst of all, her shoes matched.

She waved at Frank with a bright smile.

"Hi, Frank!" she said.

"Oh, hey," he said back.

She looked at him, she looked at me, and then she looked at my feet.

I died.

When the elevator finally reached the lobby after what seemed like a million years, I waited for her to walk away before stepping out of the elevator. I leaned against the wall and shamefacedly put on my other boot.

Then Frank said, "That girl is in one of my classes... and I can't remember her name!"

That made me laugh and I felt better.

We walked to his car, and I took care to jump in every single puddle on the way while he laughed at me. (I feel like a lot of our relationship consists of him laughing, affectionately, at my shenanigans.) Then I carefully inspected my shoes. No improvement. That mud was caked on.

"I'm going to have to get these things really wet," I told Frank as he dropped me off at the metro and lent me his umbrella too (because that guy is a hero, let me tell you).

When I got off at the metro station near work, I knew I had a job to do. I only had 6 blocks to walk until my building. The rain and the puddles wouldn't be around forever. My boots needed to get clean.

And so, my friends, I splashed. And by splashed I mean jumped, with both feet, and waded and sloshed my way through puddle after puddle. I felt like a 5-year-old (a very happy 5-year-old). I got those boots nice and wet, so wet that I could feel water seeping into my toes. It was awesome.

As I splashed, I began to acquire a little fan club. Because how often do you see an adult woman in professional clothes splashing in puddles? I mean really, how often? People were staring at me and a lot of them were smiling. A man who works in my building grinned as we both entered the lobby.

"I want some boots like that!" he said appreciatively.

We got on the elevator together and I admitted ruefully, "It is a little silly."

"Nah," he said, "It's just the right thing to do on a rainy day like this." We parted with smiles as new friends.

And when I got up to my floor, I discovered that my boots were still muddy.

So I gave up, went to the bathroom, and wiped them clean with paper towels. Because I can't splash in puddles forever.

And that, my friends, is the story of how I looked like a fool, acquired a fan club, and made a new friend within a one-hour window this morning. All because of a pair of muddy boots.

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