I’m developing suburb feet–and it’s something I’m not especially pleased about.

As I recently described to a friend, I used to walk, in heels, on concrete, upwards of two miles a day.(1) When he winced visibly I reminded him that it’s different in a city where one relies upon public transportation. I lived a full mile from the subway and walked back and forth at least five days a week. Add in any other walking to lunch or to meet the Blonde and I was probably seeing an average of 15-20 miles a week out on the streets of Manhattan and Queens. Now, I’ve never been one for stiletto heels on the daily basis. I like a pretty solid and tall heel under me. One of my favorite tests that I have for my shoes is to go out in them with the Brunette. Along with being somewhat taller than I am, he walks very quickly along city streets. If I can keep up with him, it was money well spent.

My first inkling that I might not be up to my usual walks came in March, on a flying trip out to NY. It was pouring down rain (though blissfully not snow) and I hadn’t worn the shoes in question for some time. Also, they’ve never been the best fit. I’m kind of between sizes–so I go with whatever shoe seems to fit better the day I’m buying and this might not have been the best of shopping experiences. But I kept up with the Blonde as she and I hauled up 8th Ave to catch a show and then afterwards matched stride with the Actor—who is 6’2″. I was 5’7″ish that day but still fit very comfortably under his arm.

When we arrived back to Forest Hills to change for the evening I realized that not only did I have blisters, but they were way beyond manageable if I expected to wear those same shoes in the near future. Fortunately, I was changing to a different pair of heels–these just as tall but with a slightly different fit. Rather heavily bandaged and freshly shod, we were right back out and I was in those shoes until 2 a.m.–when we collapsed into a diner booth for a snack. (I won’t count the taxi ride home.)

I came home and returned to my normal schedule, until a recent run to Chicago. I should have considered when I woke up at 6:30 a.m. on that Saturday morning (2) that I wouldn’t really be stopping until wee hours of Sunday morning. I’m not sure it would have helped–as I knew that part of the reason I was getting dressed for the evening at 6:30 a.m. was that I knew I wouldn’t really be anywhere that allowed for much in the way of fully changing attire all day. But there I was, running about Wicker Park and Lakeview, dragging a former coworker up and down Michigan and State Streets on a yarn run(3), and then out with some friends who, while lovely and sweet, are male–and tall. As in 6’+…..all but one of them.

I’m not complaining about the company but by the time we got “home” for the night, I’d been in said heels for over 19 hours. So even with preemptive bandaging, I was in pretty rough shape. And of course, I went out walking a bunch on Sunday too. I did wear flats that day, but only because when I tried to put on my heels I nearly fell down. I do make some small concessions when faced with passing out every time I take a step.

But anyway, suburb feet. I drive everywhere here. Most of us do, unless we’re out walking for our health or to exercise our pets. While I wouldn’t think of a half mile or even a mile as a long walk when I’m in a city, here it’s a long distance. I’m sure some of this will change in the summer–I have every intention of spending lunch hours walking to and from the farmers market they put up. It’s not daily walking though, mandated by our transportation and it means my feet, while not getting the same abuse and indeed because of it, are less up to city travails.

This does not mean, however, that next time I’m out to NY or Chicago I’m wearing sneakers. It just means I’m packing extra band aids, moleskin and Neosporin.

(1) Uphill and in the snow both ways too darn it!!!
(2) drove in Friday night
(3) They MIGHT have let me change clothes at the yarn store but it’s not what one wants to ask