Friday, 13 November 2009

Monologue - Not 42 - as promised

Not 42 by Rosemary Dun

So, I says to the girl in the shop – Excuse me. But I know my feet. And they are a size 8 - which is a European size 42. Or a US size 10 – if you're being really picky.
No, madam, she says. All hoity-toity. Which is a bit rich, as she looks like she's still at school – not much older than my Kate.
We don't stock size 42. Because that's a size 9, and we only go up to a 41 – which is size 8, she says with a little smile.
But I won't be mollified by her shop-trained niceties and her Have-A-Nice-Day's. Oh no.
Size 41 is most definitely not an 8, I insist. That's a size 7.
C'mon Mum, says Kate, clearly embarrassed. All size 40 or 6 ½ of her. She'll never have to worry about them altering her shoe size without a by-your-leave. No. She's got average feet. But when you have big clod-hoppers like mine - well, it's upsetting when some EU Regulation goes and sizes you out of the shoe-shop market. Completely.
In Doc Martens, I continue (and these are Doc Martens). An 8 is a 42. In Next shoes an' all, I add. And M&S, (for good measure).
By now I'm quite annoyed that all this re-sizing malarkey has turned me into a right shoe anorak. I like to see myself as cool. Even at my age.
Mu-u-u-um … says Kate. Tugging at my arm.
I know she wants to be off to Top Shop: but I've got the bit – or should I say, shoe – well and truly between my teeth.
I decide to employ sarcasm with this shop girl.
Right, I says. So what you're implying is that I've gone and forgotten what size shoe I take. Is that right? The girl looks about her for some moral support, but the other shop girls all appear to be looking the other way.
Maybe, I continue, you are right, and 20-odd years of wearing size 8 or size 42 shoes count for nothing beside your superior knowledge and experience. Hm?
The girl turns her back on me and talks into some kind of walkie talkie, while I stand my ground. Holding the purple suede shoe-boot I was hoping to try on, in my hand. I look at it. I mean. Shoe-boot. Whoever thought of that? And just who was it who came up with that name for what is essentially a cropped boot? Some of the other shoe-boots on display have their heels and toes cut out. They remind me of those funny shoes I saw in Eastern Europe the year the Berlin Wall came down. Before Yugoslavia split into two – or was that three? - and the Balkans war began. I dunno. Is this the price we have to pay for an extended EU membership? Re-sizing? (pause) And shoe-boots?
I went there travelling that year of 1989. With my American boyfriend Mark. I'd met him in LA when I was roller-skating along Venice beach. I loved those skates. Bought myself a pair to bring back to Bristol. For using up on the Durdham Downs. They've got paths up there. Still, they're not quite the same as a beachside promenade in La-la land. But fun, all the same.
Those skate-boots were an American size, of course. You had to get them one size bigger, for the white knee length socks you got to wear with them. I wore white short shorts too – with a red trim. Very Boogie Nights! So in the end those roller skates were actually an American size 11. Can you imagine? Size 11? I felt huge compared with those tiny American girls. Like some big lumbering Viking. This guy - in a boutique in Santa Monica - even asked me if I worked out. I just stared at him. No-one in England went to a gym back then. Not unless you happened to be a lady weight-lifter. Which I was not. Thank you very much.
Right. So there I am. In this shoe shop. In The Galleries. Thinking, I've had quite enough of this nonsense. I'm off. And without further ado, I turn on my size 42 heel in order to execute a dignified – if a tad bit flouncey - exit. When next thing I know, alarms are flashing, and that young shop girl floors me with a flying rugby tackle. As in my hand I'm still clutching that damn purple suede shoe-boot. Bloody EU.

1 comment:

  1. hmmm the layout seemed to go a bit awry on the posting. Sorry about that