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Shoe Personality of the Week: 7/04/2011

This time last week I was in Venezuela, Rio Chico, to be exact. I was busy marveling at the similarities of brown peoples everywhere I’ve been, though not boasting that I’ve gotten any kind of full world travel on. I was busy breathing in, choking on, & getting sick by way of the thickest, livest smog I’ve encountered in my lifetime. I was also pressed to get to Caracas (the only place in the world besides Pittsburgh, so far, that I NEVER want to see again) to pick up my hand crafted gladiator sandals.

Walking past a table at an outdoor market my eye was caught by uncut red leather & a pair of gladiator sandals already made by the artisan. I tried very hard to make the sandals fit, a mere $30 in U.S. currency, but could not. My heel hung off the back by what would be considered a smidge, an increment of measurement most would overlook, distracted by the epidemic of women’s toenails grazing the concrete & cracked ashy heels hanging dangerously over the backs of shoes as though they were contemplating a suicidal plunge. In the end, all that’s killed is your spirit, wishing women would stop engaging in this bananas attempt at “killing the game” in Payless mass produced footwear. Wait, I think I’ve gone off on a tangent. Reeling it in… The point is that I could not, in good consciousness purchase these shoes & walked away in sadness multiplied by sadness.

I had 1 more occasion to walk by this same artisan on another day. The red leather was still there, his hands stitching another pair of shoes. His smile let me know he remembered me. He broke out his notebook of blank paper & offered me a seat. He traced my foot & in Spanish told me that he remembered the shoes I liked, why they didn't fit, & said he could have them made by the next day. Rapid fire hands, Sir?!? Doth thou skills be handed down straight from Da Lawd himself?!? I was leaving for another town later that afternoon & wouldn’t return for a few more days. Take your time, Angelic Artisan. Go forth & craft me the sandals of my lust for the color red.

Last Sunday I was giddy with excitement. I was glad to be approaching the final leg of a good but long trip. I missed B.B. I was tired from being hit with external cues for stories & pontification with no time to actually process any of it. I needed a still moment. & to add insult to injury, I was experiencing the BET Awards via Twitter. My reward for it all was looming in the tangible distance, waiting to caress my feet in a sandal with a REAL SOLE that prevented me from looking & feeling as though I’m wearing shoes of concrete & a thonged toe. I don’t see how y’all wear these sole-free shoes, shortening your Achilles to within in a millimeter of caned assistance.

Wait, I’m off on another tangent.

Monday, I rushed to the artisan, before even putting my bags in my hotel room. I approached his table amongst wares that were totally unnecessary in the lives of most. His face change. The welcoming smile looked a little more like…”oh shit…” He began making promises as soon as I was in earshot. He’d have them ready by 8 the next morning. I let him know that I’d be taxying down a Venezuelan runway, homeward bound, at that exact time. My dreams of wearing artisanal sandals were crushed. My dreams of the rich red dashed. Then the silver lining hit me—3 of us remained in Venezuela. & while 1 was staying through August & would’ve made me wait til next summer to rock my beauties, 2 are returning home at the end of this month. Hope really does spring eternal. I let my angel know I’d be sending a friend with my receipt. The next day, the sandals were scored. Now, I get to itch a little longer with the rash of anticipation until the end of the month. I’m a big girl, I WILL survive.

In this Life my patience continues to be tested, & I keep #winning.

I may not be as patient about the wait for this upper respiratory infection to take leave but I’m in good spirits & I don’t have to contend with it while also facing my inability to really stay home from work. There’s that other silver lining. I have a set!!

Watch me move.


  1. Aweez, for a second I thought this was gonna end badly. Glad to hear that Mr. Venezuelan Shoe Man came through and didn't just swindle a sistah. I'm also interested in seeing a pic of the actual shoe because I needs visuals, thanks in advance.

    Patience is a virtue my friend...not that you don't already know this. Happy to hear you survived the Venezuelan fog with nothing but a upper respiratory infection which probably developed on the flight...I had a similar thing happen to me when I flew from Brazil. Planes are covered in bacteria and the recycled air doesn't help.

  2. When they make it here, they'll be the only live flick of shoes the page has seen. I gotchu!!

    & I was sick before I got on the plane. The plane, I'm sure, was NOT helpful.