On my last day in New York, rain was coming down in sheets, relentless. In a misguided effort to save money, I plotted a trip from downtown to JFK by way of subway (90 minutes). I checked in my hefty luggage and wandered around the terminal to fend off that boredom that sets in at airports. I boarded the plane, I was ready to don the woolly socks stashed in my bag, when the captain told us a wheel brake was malfunctioning and needed to be changed. We got off the plane just in time to find out LAX had grounded all flights because a computer glitch shut off their radar.
At this point, I am still going on the fumes of some of the good mood that a lovely break has left me in. Stuff happens. Rather than waiting for hours at the airport and arriving in LA at 3 am, I re-book my flight for the following morning. “Your luggage will only take 20 minutes” a cheerful Virgin rep informs me. I walk down to the luggage hall where, 45 minutes later, I am still waiting, frozen and damp. New York had gone from Summer to Winter in 12 hours. My poor luggage finally arrives drenched, as if it had sitting outside for hours. I briefly consider a trip back on the subway but my feet refuse to carry all that weight again. I stand in line for a taxi for 45 minutes.
By the time I land back at my family’s condo, eight hours have elapsed since I had originally got at JFK. My first thought is for my feet but, once the boots are off, and I am scarfing down some comfort food, I don’t give them a second thought. We never do. The occasional pedicure is a chance to make them prettier but not necessarily more comfortable.
Yet they carry us all day long. They skip in happiness, they dance the night away, they don’t begrudge us impossible heels and they do it day in and day out. Quite a task.
My friend Lolly, a lovely and curious lady who lives in Florence, belongs to a group of women who met through work and stayed in touch through their very own Bloomsbury Group on Facebook. A little while ago, inspired by Italian author Erri de Luca’s peotic thoughts on feet (“they are the most imprisoned part of an imprisoned body”), they set out to roam the streets and photograph women’s feet: in restaurants, on the bus, walking around. “Symbols of women who walk, choose, love, seduce, study, work, defend themselves, run away.”
All feet going about their business without a second thought. Maybe the images will make you stop and spare a kind thought for your own two feet.
All images courtesy of the Bloomsbury Group