I used to have this nightmare that I was walking around doing my usual stuff and suddenly noticed I had no shoes on. In the dream, I would cringe with humiliation as people started noticing I was wearing no shoes, and I would wonder "What's the matter with me? How could I leave the house without wearing any shoes?"
Last night this scenario sort of became a reality. I got punished for moaning about how boring my life has been lately. Last week I had so much work I didn't have time to change out of my pyjamas for two days. For two weeks the only time I have left the house has been for one supermarket trip, one laiki trip and one coffee with a friend. That's it. The rest of the time I've been holed up inside working and feeling sorry for myself.
Yesterday after work let up a bit I went for dance class. I didn't really feel like dancing, I just wanted to hang out somewhere, so I went to hang out at dance class. Everyone was tired yesterday. We all flopped around like wilted flowers and exchanged our various complaints: too much work, too hot, no man, stupid man, etc.
On leaving class going home seemed like the worst idea to me. I needed to be out and so I bought a drink from a kiosk and took a stroll by the Acropolis.
I walked along in the beautiful summer evening, feeling smug at the tourists who would eventually have to leave the place I lived in, and walked all the way to Thissio where I met up with my Turkish friend A who was watching the Germany-Portugal match in a pub. We caught up briefly and after slobbering over a few gratuitous Christiano Ronaldo shots, I left as I had to catch the metro to get home.
Outside as I walked along and felt sad about having to return home, I tripped up. When I tried to keep walking the right slipper flew off my foot. It had snapped in a completely inconvenient, non fixable way.
So there I was, stranded in a very busy tourist area with three choices:
a) stay here as I am and wait to be rescued by someone willing to let me have their shoes for the night
b) walk around with one slipper on
c) bite the bullet and walk around barefoot
Being barefoot struck me as slightly less ridiculous than having only one slipper on. So I took a deep breath and began to walk. It's situations like this when being a foreigner comes in very handy; you just walk around radiating a tourist vibe like "Look at me, I'm just a tourist and I don't know any better."
Now, all ladies will be familiar with the post-club routine of walking home barefoot with your high heels in one hand. That's fine, we do that. But who walks around with their flip flops in one hand unless they're on the beach?
I went to Thissio and when the metro machines rejected my coins I decided I wouldn't ride the metro barefoot and then wait barefoot for a bus. I'd take a taxi. But there were none to be found. And so I walked up Ermou from Thissio to Monastiraki, along marble footpaths, along dirt footpaths, brick, pebble, tarmac and a building site strewn with sand and broken glass. It was like a video game: dodge the broken glass and get an extra 10 points if you find a taxi.
It was hilarious so I called Mr Zeus to tell him. "Don't worry," he said "in the summer tourists do that when they get too hot." Well if that's true then there are some pretty stupid tourists around because the ground was no cooler than a pair of shoes, having soaked up 41C worth of heat during the day.
"There you go," I thought to myself "you said your life was boring, well here you are. Walking around downtown Athens barefoot, attracting weird looks and looking enviously at those who have shoes to wear."
After a 10 minute shoeless trek I managed to flag down a taxi and the first thing he said when I got in was "Why aren't you wearing any shoes kale?" I held up the broken slipper "They broke! And you never think of carrying a spare pair, do you!"
When I told the story to Z2 this morning, he told me a story about how he'd been riding his bike at the crack of dawn once and saw a barefoot woman waiting for a taxi, high heels in one hand and thought it was one of the sexiest things he'd ever seen. But what does he know, bare anything on a woman is one of the sexiest things he's ever seen.
So there you have it. If you saw a woman walking around barefoot last night in Thissio with flip flops in one hand, I confess it was me. It's lucky for me my embarrassment threshold is so high.