Unsafe Clicking 

31 Dec


The days following Christmas are for taking your gifts and putting them in “piles” in your room. 
When I come home, my parents are constantly telling me to take my belongings and “pile them up” in my room. As far as I’m concerned, “piles” are not so much organizational techniques as night-time obstacles to my journey from the bed to the bathroom. The number of near ankle breaks I could blame on miscellaneous piles is exorbitantly high. 
Once my piles are made, they tend to slowly unfold out of pile formation and their contents form a wig for my rug. (Because of all of the aforementioned nighttime pee breaks and the consequential tripping.)

The “wig rug stage” is the stage at which I finally assess my gifts and try them on. 

It’s not that I don’t enjoy my gifts or appreciate them, because I do…it’s just that the post-Christmas return process is so sweaty and stressful that I like to put it off for as long as possible.

This year, I received a pair of olive green “feminine combat boots” for Christmas. Olive green because I like when my shoes match my eyes, and “combat” because there is a lot of dog poop in France and thick soles keep it from seeping into my shoes.

When I tried on the boots for the first time, I only tried on the left one. It felt great!

“Mom,” I said, “the boots are awesome!”

The second time I tried them on, I was intending to wear them to lunch. I tried on the left, and then the right. I took a few steps and felt a strange “clicking” in my right boot. Not the left boot, just the right one. The clicking was auditory and also sensory – with every “click,” the top of the boot came down onto my toe like a jack hammer and felt very uncomfortable.

“Crap,” I said. “Mom, we have to return these. There’s a weird ‘clicking.’”

And so, we made the journey to the mall.

My post-Christmas mall survival guide includes a few very important necessities:

1. Chewing gum, for when your breath starts to smell of despair and frustration and you don’t want that cute sales clerk to smell the onion sub you scarfed down in the food court.

2. A protein-packed lunch with a leak-proof container, so you don’t have to eat the onion sub in the food court and so you’ll be energized for your returning/shopping endeavors. And leak-proof so that when you accidentally flip it upside down while trying to pull up a pair of sale jeans that are two sizes two small, but “look like they could stretch,” your protein lunch won’t spill all over the jeans, thus forcing your New Year’s resolution to be “go down two jean sizes.”

3. Water, because hydration is important and you’ll be doing a week’s worth of cardio by walking around the mall looking for Macy’s, which you thought was on the East end but which is actually on the West end. Sip, breathe, and push onward.

4. An adult diaper, so you don’t have to go into the Nordstrom bathroom, which always smells like diarrhea.

a. Don’t wear an adult diaper, otherwise when some kids says, “Mom, it smells like pee!” people will turn to look at you.

b. Instead, bring a face mask and just brave the bathroom. Or train yourself to hold a full bladder for five hours.

5. Anti-anxiety medication, so when that angry mom in line in front of you spends an hour trying to swindle a few bucks with Macy’s coupons from 2003, you won’t say things you’ll later regret. (Because, SPOILER ALERT: that “angry mom” is your angry mom.)

6. Deodorant and sweat-wicking clothes. Between all of the stress and the cardio, you’re going to sweat. A lot. And EMS will be ransacked, so you’re better off wearing your own athletic attire.

7. A safe word, so that when you’re at your wits end, the people with whom you came will know you need to be air-lifted out of there and brought to your happy place. (My word is “persimmon” and my happy place is the bar at Leonardo DiCaprio’s house.)

a. Know someone who knows Leo. Or at least can get you the key.

That’s my list. Follow it to a T and you’ll be OK.

When we got to the mall, we went to Nordstrom because my sister wanted to use a gift card and I (thought) I was on the hunt for new boots, sans “clicking.”

The store was so crowded, there was a man who had been hired to speak into a microphone and call out the numbers people had been given upon arrival. It was like a deli, except there weren’t any kind deli employees asking if you’d care to try the pepper-crusted turkey breast. (There was that one guy in the corner, but for all we knew, he could have worked for a giant supermarket chain. Remember, shop local!)

“Number fifty,” the mic man called out (as he reminisced – for the 1,000th time that day – about that time he got a call back for the video submission portion of the audition for The Voice).

My number was five, so things really weren’t looking too good. I was about to dip into my protein lunch when we decided to proceed to Aldo, instead.

It was finally time for me to exchange my stupid, clicking boots for something bigger and better! What kind of amazing fashion pieces would I walk away owning??

I tried on some leather “low ankle” booties that made me look like an elf. I did a little in-store elf dance and made the sales lady giggle. We elves are always good for a laugh.

Then, as I was trying on a different style of “feminine combat boots,” I cut my finger on the shoe box, without even realizing.

“EW, why the hell is there blood on this box??” I asked, worriedly. “Oh shit, it’s mine. Quick, hide the box under the bench!”

After I’d stitched up my wound with the twine I’d LUCKILY remembered to include in my mall survival kit, my mom suggested I try on the store’s pair of my feminine combat boots, just to compare.

“Thanks,” I said to the sales lady, as she brought out a pair of olive green feminine combat boots. “You see, what happened was that the pair I got for Christmas made this weird clicking noise, and I’m sure these will be the same, but I’m a very thorough person – especially with shoes – so I was hoping to try on a different pair, to make an educated comparison.”

“Ok,” she said.

Both shoes fit. I walked a few paces. There was no clicking. There was no noise at all, actually. I was floating. And walking on water. And curing diseases. And enforcing world peace.

“Mom,” I said. “There’s no clicking!”

“That’s so weird,” she responded, as she lifted up the original boots and stuck her hand in the “clicking one.” “I wonder why this one…”

“Sophie,” she said. “Did you try on this boot with the plastic still inside??”


I took my original pair of boots and ran.

Leo and I have been drinking martinis ever since.

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