I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t buy the right shoes.
I knew about the rain before I got here. I love the rain. I can’t get enough of it. I love the sound. I love falling asleep to its patter. I love that my apartment smells so fresh and clean.
I’m told I’ll feel differently come mid-February. Well, Yamhill Valley, bring it. I’m ready. I’m parched and sere from 18 Virginia summers. Know how some people get the blues from too little sunshine? I get the blues from too much. Every rainy day this fall, I’ve looked outside at the clouds and mist, the shiny sidewalks and the oblique light redefining the term “saturated colors,” and thanked the heavens above I live here.
All the same, I can’t give up suede ballet flats, platform peep-toe pumps with four-inch heels, stiletto sandals and va-va-voom boots. My shoe wardrobe is a terrible match for this climate.
My teenage daughter shares my hang-up. She bikes a 7 mile round-trip to school every day. She’s convinced she won’t have any intact shoes left come spring. Her Aunt Ellen has been in Portland a little longer. She made the disappointing point that the Pacific Northwest women we see wearing adorable footgear probably aren’t cycling everywhere. The rain is the reason we see so many Birkenstocks.
Cute wellies, Aunt Ellen proposed.
Meh, said the girl.
I feel her pain. Oh, ladies of Yamhill Valley. You look adorable in your Keens and your lug-soled Mary Janes. You really do. And I’m so tired of going everywhere in hiking boots.
I know I have to break down. I have to buy the local flavor. New as I am in town, I’ve really embraced Oregon. (I wonder if I actually remember how to pump my own gas.)
I was yapping with one of the women I work with about this. What can I say, it weighs on me. She pointed out that plenty of women are marching around in heels. Yes, I said. But don’t they slip on the wet leaves and fall on their fannies? She offered confirmation with a diplomatic shrug.
I’ve bought a pair of rubber-soled flats that will stand up to the rain — another requirement fulfilled on my how-to-be-Oregonian checklist.
Yet, I can’t stop hunting for that nonskid, waterproof stiletto pump that just has to exist.