Pardon me, New York!/How My Shoes Tried To Kill Me.

Conductor, take me to the city! Please. I mean, if you don’t mind.

As any former city dweller who goes suburban can tell you, you quickly forget your city-livin’ skills. You get used to two-lane highways and knowing the names of your neighbors, the names of their children and the names of their children’s children. Your rough city spots become soft and gracious. You begin allowing people to make ill-timed left hand turns realizing you aren’t in any rush.

You forget how to navigate densely populated areas by foot. You encourage leisurely conversation. When you ask someone how they are, it’s not a rhetorical question any longer. You talk about your city days as if reliving the walk on role you once had as a much hipper and younger version of yourself in your made for T.V. movie.

I went to the Big Apple on Thursday. Polka dotted bindle on my back. Green, hand-knit woolen mittens and orange wool hat complete with pom-pom and oversized knit flower. I dressed up by wearing a simple housedress and boots. I used a hair dryer. I USED A HAIR DRYER.

I went into the city alone, by commuter rail. I sat in silence with other passengers. I brought the biggest purse I could find because I hear that if you are in New York, you should make all bags as bulky and unmanageable as possible. I exited the train into Grand Central Station. The tiny, city heart trapped inside my now Vermont, suburban heart began to swell. It began to beat hard and fast. Was it love? Was it confusion? Was that a STARBUCKS?

I ordered my breve latte from a woman with a headset. “Venti Breve for BPM. That’s a Venti Breve for BPM.” I couldn’t even see the barista from my place in line. Well, hot damn, I says as I slap my knee and bust out my banjo.

I had an appointment on Lexington. The city smelled like city. I deeply inhaled and then immediately regretted my decision as I was standing directly over a street grate. I began the trek. With each stride more confident, until the soles of my flat, new boots slid and I gracefully fell into a man walking in the opposite direction. No biggie. I’m a city girl today. City girls just keep going. “Thank you, sir! Sorry about that! New boots!” The look on his face was a mix of, “Lady, I don’t give a shit!” and moderate amusement. He then said, “I like your hat.” After a very genuine, “Thank you!” from me, I realized he was joking. City sarcasm! I forgot about you. Hi, old friend.

After a brisk mile point something, I saddled up to the breakfast bar and looked at my egg options. Poached, soft scrambled, over easy, over root vegetables, overwhelmingly expensive. “Yes. Hi there! Do you have a scramble yourself discount? Hello? Sir?”

Later, after lovely conversation, I headed toward my two hour and one-awkward-connection train back to Realityville. Walking swiftly. I was late. I was sure of myself. My city soul pounding the pavement with each click of my heel. My footsteps chanting, “I’m back. I’m back. I’m back. The city girl is back.” and then, I fell; four times between Lexington and 21st and Lexington and 42nd.

I love New York. I didn’t want to leave. The boots, however, I can’t leave fast enough. They are going back to the store tomorrow. You can take the girl out of the city, but, if she returns for a visit, make sure she wears shoes with tread or, so the old saying goes.

My real, submitted Return to
Title: Chinese Laundry Women’s South Bay Leather Knee-High Boot,Cognac,7.5 M US
Quantity: 1
Reason: Defective/Does not work properly
Return Details: These shoes are dangerous! I wore them once and the soles were so slippery that I fell a total of 5 times in just over 4 hours. The soles are incredibly slick. These boots aren’t made for walking.
Action Requested: Standard refund 

You didn’t like this hat, Sir? Your loss.



  1. This New Yorker loves your hat (no sarcasm) and can’t wait to hear if Amazon takes the return!

  2. Ah, I remember those days well. I used to be able to walk 20 Manhattan blocks in my tiny-heeled FMB (f*ck-me-boots), and now I can’t make it to the holiday party across the street without either wiping out or clutching my husband to alleviate the pain.

    • Amen. I have a closet full of high-heeled delights that are covered in dust and drowning in self-pity. I should give them away,but, I’m just not ready to let them go. In my closet they will stay until I completely accept that my heel wearing Mondays are long gone.

  3. This story remindede of that movie “Baby Boom” with Diane Keaton. Especially the “I’m back” part. I really feel kind of cheated that I never experienced living in NYC. Although, even though I make fun of my OWN clothes all the time, it might really hurt my feeling if someone made fun of them to my face. 🙁

    • Baby Boom! Now I need to watch this immediately and be thankful that shoulder pads are no longer in style! I wasn’t offended by the hat comment. I kind of haT it coming. Sorry, couldn’t resist. 🙂

  4. Oh, I’m with you sister! Even though I still live in Chicago, visiting the downtown portion (i.e. near the Sears Tower/Willis Tower or whatever they’re calling it this week)brings back all my non-fuzzy hat, heel-wearing days. Thanks for the laughs!

    • I love how we become practical and start wearing fuzzy hats. It’s like a rite of passage. Goodbye pumps, hello pom-pom hats. Ahhhh, adulthood. It was a bitter cold day. You can bet I was warmer than the young girl with no hat. Sadly, youth does not keep you warm. Who knew?

  5. I love that hat. I’m knitting its orange woolen Doppelgänger right now. Well, I will, as soon as I remember how to knit. Yay you and your triumphant return to the city!

    • I hope you are actually knitting one because I will write a song called, Hats Off to Us and we will choreograph an interpretive dance that we can then perform outside of Grand Central Station bringing this story to a creative and unexpected conclusion.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Love it – so true. I used to work in downtown Seattle and derived great joy in bringing a colorful umbrella with cheery patterns on it to counter all the black umbrellas there. The look on the other pedestrians’ faces as I opened my bumbershoot of cheeriness was priceless. (And contrary to popular belief, people in Seattle DO use umbrellas when they’re in work clothes. But we don’t in the ‘burbs.)

  7. Oh I love NYC too and was raised in Queens so I went often when I was younger and your hats and gloves were totally the right choice. I would have worn flat boots, too and probably wouldn’t have thought that I would slip either as long as they were flat. Glad you had a good trip in minus the boots though 🙂

    • Thank you, Janine! I absolutely thought I was safe with flat boots. I guess it’s time for me to admit to the fact that, at my age, no footwear aside from furry slippers is safe. Next time, I should pack orthapedics for the walk and wear regular shoes just for show while seated (preferably not on a stool that will tip).

  8. Somehow you make me giggle and get all watery-eyed in one post.

    And I love your hat almost as much as your writing. 🙂

    • Thanks, JD! I was not NYC chic, but, I was warm. And, when you’re walking 20 + blocks in January, warm matters. Thank you for all of your love and support. And giggles. The giggles are the best. xo

  9. I had a similar trek this summer. I was staying in Connecticut with my in-laws and had a meeting in NYC. I never lived in New York, but I did live in downtown Boston and grew up in Jersey in commuter-to-NY territory.

    Anyhoo . . .

    I bought a new bag, added a thin, bright yellow belt to a chic (for Target) black dress. I had sparkly flats. I wore bangles. I took a commuter train. I got out at Grand Central and remembered on the quick how damn big and crowded and wonderful New York is. Then I had to pull out my phone to figure out which way was uptown.

    Later, after a nice conversation, I was back at Grand Central paying for an $11 chicken sandwich, no chips. “How much for a sandwich that you dropped on the floor, sir? $9:50? I’ll take it.”

    It was over too soon, but my flats held up nicely and I left with more than a sesame seed stuck in my teeth. I left remembering that I’m still in here, under all this mom.

    As always, great bit. You make me get wordy.

  10. Wait, seriously you live in Vermont? Not to sound all stalkerish but I do too and I would love to meet someday to commiserate blogging/childrearing woes…where oh where in Vermont pray tell???

  11. Awesome! I’m in Essex and I was beginning to think I was the only blogger in the state. It’s lonely over here! I’m sending warm thoughts your way this beautiful Tuesday morning.

  12. I know I should not be laughing that you fell but I always fall and I just need to know someone else does it too. I wish I could blame shoes but I’m pretty sure it’s just me.

  13. Throw those FMB’s on Ebay in a lot!

    How the heck did you get a 2 hour train from VT to NYC.. I live closer and it takes me 90 minutes. ack.

  14. I think your hat is, as well as the mittens, adorable. I’ve never lived in the city, but I just know I’d be one of the annoying people who can’t navigate a crowd to save her life. Midwest for life, yo. Superbly written, my friend. Now, get thee some new boots!

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    • I was born in NYC and lived there for 30 years. I live in Chicago now which I think is NYC lite. Until I go back to NYC and realize NYC could eat Chicago, spit it out and run over it with an 8 car subway train.

    • I’ve only been to Chi-town once. I was in my early 20s with a boyfriend. I remember thinking it was magical. I also think you are magical so your current location makes sense.

  16. Pity about the boots. They are pretty cool, and you can still mom about it them. Old fashion trick: Sandpaper the bottoms, and put some duct tape where the ball of your foot lands=hand made skids. Maybe you’ll re-think getting rid of them!

  17. On the positive side, at least you didn’t have the baby in the pack when you fell. You know because then you might have twisted your ankle 😉

  18. Please tell us if you get a full refund. Also? YOU DIDN’T TELL ME YOU WERE IN MY HOOD.

  19. LOVE the “these boots ain’t made for walking” on the return.

Speak Your Mind