Feet and Thundersnow

15 March 2002

Good morning, dear ones. It's quarter to six, and I am -- of course -- wide awake. It thundersnowed in Minneapolis last night. I'm hoping this doesn't mean too much in the way of flight delays. I've got fruit leather in my bag, and we're in the Jamba Juice wing of the airport when we fly Northwest, so I should at least be fed if we have to wait. And I have plenty of stuff to do in my bag. Timprov thought my book packing was "extreme." He wondered aloud if there were books I'd like to borrow from his or my folks. Um, I took that into account when I packed....

Mark proclaimed me some kind of organizational deity and bowed repeatedly to me. Just because I printed out my packing list. Sheesh. Oh, no, I'm sorry: just because I typed my packing list in the first place. But that part only makes sense.

On our way to the Office Despot, we saw a kiosk Timprov had never seen before and I had started to take for granted: Tarot Graph. It's a computerized tarot kiosk. Yes. Computerized tarot kiosk. This is what happens when you live halfway between Berkeley and Silicon Valley.

Well, Mary Anne -- or any of the rest of you who keep journals, for that matter -- I have some advice if you want to get mail. Ask people about cows. Seriously. I have gotten so much cow mail. I have heard from people who only moo in the privacy of their own car, and people who only moo if there's a chance the cow will hear them. I have heard from people whose families cannot consistently tell the difference between cows and horses. People who have been in cow-related car "incidents" in foreign countries. People who moo at their co-workers when said co-workers wear spotted coats. (I don't think that last one should ever be an issue, by the way. If there's a chance that someone might moo at you, it's a bad coat choice.) People who only moo at familiar cows and people who only moo at strange cows. Evidently cows are quite an evocative topic for a lot of people, and I'm enjoying all of the cow-mail, albeit with a bit of a puzzled air.

So far, almost no Midwesterners moo, and almost all Easterners do. Very little data from the West and South -- speak up, people! Or don't I have any Western or Southern readers? It's in the service of science. Talk to me. (Hee. I just like telling people random things are in the service of science.)

I'm back fixated on the thundersnow, in my head. Aunt Ellen is going to be alarmed, I think (so, Uncle Phil, if you're reading this, please warn her): she told me to bring my boots. I don't have any boots in this state. I left them at my parents' house. It's California! They're not rain boots. I have no use for knee-high leather snow-boots here. In fact, I have very few shoes with backs on them at all. There's a good reason for this: they make my feet bleed.

Seriously. This is one of the times people think I'm exaggerating for storytelling effect, until they see what happens when I wear new shoes. "What did you do?" they invariably howl. It happened every spring at Gustavus: I would find a pair of sandals that looked and felt okay. I would buy them and wear them from Wahlstrom (my dorm) to the caf and then over to Olin (the physics building). And then I'd sit down on the floor of my office in Olin and take off my shoes to make my bleeding feet feel okay (because invariably the Band-Aids I had attempted to apply as a preemptive strike would be in the wrong positions, or would not adhere, or something), and my officemates would shriek, "What did you do? How far did you walk in those things?"

Not very. It's just that my feet don't form calluses very well. The shoes rub my feet raw, they start to heal, calluses form, and then fall right off. It's just not fun.

So I've found a type of sandals that mostly works, and I've got three pairs of like-new sandals in the closet that I haven't worn, because I can't get them past the feet-bleeding stage, although I keep trying with trips to the mailbox and back. I tried the "wear them around the house with heavy socks" thing, too, and that hasn't worked, either. I wear ballet slippers when I can, for dress shoes, and I swear by clogs, which seem to be constructed to avoid this. My mom suspects that my brown ugly flats are quite dated and showing signs of wear, and they are. Of course they are. But they don't make ballet slippers in brown, and I hate shoe-shopping for this very reason.

Right. I know that's more than you wanted to know about my feet. Sorry 'bout that...by way of saying, I don't have non-dress shoes with backs on them here, except for one pair of tatty, circa 1994 yuppie "boots" and one pair of stiff and aging Keds. The debate rages. How will I handle the snow?

With great joy, is how. I'll see you all again April 1. In the meantime, I'll have e-mail contact, so keep on writing to me about cows or whatever else. Take care.

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