Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mama Needs A New Pair of Boots

© 2010 Leighann Lord

I have a great pair of all-weather boots that are wonderfully warm and waterproof. In the aftermath of the big snow storm before Christmas, I had no reservations about tramping through the giant slushy puddles that pooled in Chelsea’s crosswalks. As last minute holiday shoppers in stylish but unsuitable footwear gingerly tiptoed around looking for the shallowest places to cross, I strode confidently into ankle-deep water at the corner of 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue. I felt the icy cold liquid seep rapidly into my boots, dampening my socks and chilling my toes. Apparently, Mama needs a new pair of boots.

It's been a long time since I've shopped for functional footwear but I only have two criteria: warm and waterproof. My now defunct pair have served me well for quite a long time. I think I've had them since the Clinton Administration. Although it's time, I'm sad to see them go.

A good friend suggested I try Zappos.com. This is a great website. You can search by shoe type, size, and even boot height (ankle, calf, knee, thigh). I trolled the site just to see what was out there, and my choices seemed to be warm OR waterproof. The warm boots looked like they’d be sponges in the rain and the waterproof boots looked kaleidoscopically grotesque, more suitable for circus wear. I now added a third criterion: the boots had to be black. Multicolored clown shoes would not do. I found one promising pair, very stylish but when I clicked on them for a closer look I discovered they were more than $400. A nice reminder to also narrow down my search by criterion number four: price.

Despite fast delivery and ease of return, e-commerce cannot compare to the real-world thrill of the shop. I love to hunt, touch, try on and then take home a newly acquired possession. So, I began my live search at one of my favorite discount stores, The Burlington Coat Factory. Alas, the minuscule boot section was picked over worse than the all-you-can-eat salad bar at Sizzler.

I tried JC Penny but their boots were high on style and low on function. Feeling the slight pinch of panic, I dashed over to Macy's. While the calendar may say January, the people who brought us Christmas in September would soon be decking out mannequins in bikinis. By Presidents' day we'd be finding flip flops faster than Ugs.

Goal in mind, I went to the first Macy’s shoe salesman I saw and asked to see their cold weather/waterproof boots. He blinked, bit his lip and hesitated. Not good. Then led me over to a far corner of the department. "This is all we have," he said. It was small but still the best selection I'd seen so far. I found two pairs I liked but both were out of stock. What’s the alternative, my Dad’s galoshes?

As I began gearing myself up for a holy grail type search, pondering where I would go next, I saw them: My New Boots. Manufacturer? Cougar Sport. Style? Cutie Pie. Color? Black. Cost: Nowhere near $400 and on sale. Could this be love? The tag on the boots promised warmth in minus five degrees Fahrenheit. The slogan: "Splash Through it All in Comfort And Style" had me salivating. This was meant to be.

In slow motion the salesman emerged from the store room holding not one but two boxes, one in my size and the other one size up. After trying them on I chose the latter knowing I'd be wearing them with a pair thick wool socks to be named later.

I’m not a big fan of Winter but I’m watching the Weather Channel waiting for news of the next big storm. In its wake I plan on slipping on my Cutie Pies, returning to the scene of the crime and strutting through the crosswalk at 23rd and Seventh. Mama's got a new pair of boots! But I’m no newbie to love. I'm thrilled but not crazy. Just in case, I’m keeping the receipt.

Leighann Lord is a standup comedian. See her perform Sunday, 1/17 The End Of The Week As We Know It with Scott Blakeman at The Tank in NYC. Check out her other upcoming shows @ www.VeryFunnyLady.com. Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

No comments: