I think I'm done obsessing on flip flops. Even though I'm weirdly vain about my feet, I've never been a proponent of flip flops. I've worn them rarely because they make me feel like a bro-dawg, or a fraternity brother who plays corn hole in the front yard while blasting Sublime.
I am aware that this makes me a slave to my stereotypes.
So it was funny to me, when Elise, Matthew and I emerged from the blizzard we narrowly escaped on I-44, shivered through the altitudes of the high plains, and arrived in Oceanside to march down to the surf shop together and buy three pairs of flip flops. I then did to Elise what Sunny did to me a few years back and made her get her first pedicure.
"Not to get girly on you or anything, but get your ass in that pedicure chair."
I told Elise the embarrassing story of how I'd never let anyone touch my feet much less pamper them relentlessly for an hour and how I adapted to the attention. I so immediately got used to such star treatment that when it was time to go and the lady got my coat off its hook and pushed it in my direction, I held out my arm. Not to take it from her but to stick my hand through the arm hole because I thought SHE WAS GOING TO DRESS ME, TOO. Like I was helpless, or an infant. Or just a completely entitled bitch.
Elise and I went to a pleasant hole in the wall called Happiness Nails & Spa, screamed and laughed through the ticklish parts and then immersed ourselves in People magazine. In fact, we dried our toes about ten times longer than necessary because we were having so much fun comparing stories. Elise noted that it's a good thing she doesn't usually read gossip magazines. "This is changing me," she said.
Finally we hit the sidewalks, our feet still white and wintry but more festive in the nail region, and here's where I keep find myself talking about flip flops. They have become a symbol. I'm like a butterfly emerging from my cocoon, spreading my wings and my new flip flops. I keep bringing them up in conversation.
On the phone with the utilities company in Kentucky, I gave my change of address and the representative said, "California! You must be enjoying that weather!"
"Yes ma'am," I said. "I'm wearing flip flops as we speak."
In our new favorite restaurant, Swami's, the woman behind the counter introduced herself because we'd been there so repeatedly and I told her we hadn't set up our kitchen yet so were using hers. She asked where we moved from and I told her. "Kentucky!" She said. "I bet this feels warm to you!"
In answer, I kicked my foot up to counter height and said, "Yeah, I had to buy flip flops!"
I received a work email from someone in New York who didn't know I moved and he closed the email "stay warm". I wrote back, answered his questions, and added "As for staying warm, I moved to California. I just bought flip flops and I don't even like flip flops! But suddenly they make sense."
And that's what pushed me over the edge. I really annoyed myself with that one. Who cares? I'm sure he didn't. Suddenly, I don't either.