Thursday, November 10, 2005

Everybody Loves Those... Stinky Boots

When I was younger I had a slight problem with my feet. The slight problem was that they stank. I used to arrive home in the summer, and mum would instruct me to take my shoes off, put them outside, and then escort me to the bathroom to wash my feet. This procedure had to happen before I was allowed to do anything else.

My housemates at University would agree, they liked me. Hated my feet.

But once I left University, I'm not sure if I could afford a better class of shoe, or my hormones stopped hormoning. But my feet became a lesser issue. Not a hum, not a whiff.

Then last year I bought some knee high black boots. They started off fine, but one year later, cold weather and winter approaching, they've come back out of the wardrobe and it would appear they are starting to hum a little. I noticed it before Frog. And now when he sees me arrive home, wearing the boots, in a echo of my teenage years I am ordered straight to the bathroom.

It's clear I have to buy a new pair of boots. But this week before I've had a chance to get to the shops, I had to travel to Hamburg. Ideal autumn, comfortable, smart boot wearing opportunity. No heels, no back problems, there actually was no choice. It's okay, I thought. I'll get there, check into hotel, no one needs to know.

Charles de Gaulle airport security had a different idea. As I lifted my overnight bag, laptop bag, handbag onto the security belt, I slipped off my scarf and coat and prepared to walk through the scanner. The security woman in charge gestured to my boots and asked me to remove them and place them on the xray belt.

Panic. I screwed my face up. She thought I was unhappy about walking in tights across the airport floor, and in a concilliatory gesture brought out the slip on foot covers. Non, non ├ža-va, merci, I muttered. 'You never have to see these people again' I thought and bent to remove my boots and act completely ignorant of the odour that was about to hit the air.

Shuffling through, the beeper went off - underwired bra and all that. So, I stood for an interminable time as I was scanned. Avoiding all eye contact I then waited for the curled up boots to pass down the conveyor belt, to a point where I could snatch them quickly and hurriedly slip them back on again.

I walked with a forced nonchalance away from the security area into the business lounge. I didn't look back once.

Boot shopping. Saturday.

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