In Defense Of Rubber Shoes

Crocs are ugly. They are hideous, ridiculous duck shoes. They make your feet look fat and flat and silly, but people wear them–particularly restaurant workers– because they’re comfortable. I was late to the Croc game, refusing to buy into the hype, until I heard a fellow waitress raving about how working in them felt like “walking on air.” A few days later, I reconsidered my former anti-Croc stance and bought a pair.

They are the best thing to happen to waitresses and bartenders since tips.

This summer I was living in an unfinished basement which happened to get flooded and full of mold while I was in California. I didn’t lose much because three of my friends went into the horrible stinking rot and got all of my stuff (and found me a new place to live, and cleaned what was moldy–I have amazing friends), but I did lose two pairs of Crocs because although they had been scrubbed they were so funky they had to go straight to the dump. A few weeks ago I was in Boston and had only brought my Frye boots (which, though wonderful, are not advisable as an “only” pair of shoes while traveling anywhere). I was in CVS and saw fuzzy-lined fake Crocs for twelve bucks and bought them on the spot, sighing with relief the moment I put them on.

Today those shoes saved my foot.

I worked a double shift at the bar today, and this afternoon my friend Jon called me to see if I wanted to go for a motorcycle ride. At first I said no, I had to be at work all day, but a few seconds later I realized that I had a two-hour break coming and called him back and said Hell yes, I wanna go for a ride.

It was a short ride because he’d been riding all day already, the sun was going down, and I didn’t have a jacket. We went East Chop and West Chop and were heading back toward Edgartown Road on a small sidestreet right near my former elementary school. I was relaxed on the back of the bike, the more comfortable and roomy of Jon’s two. Suddenly we hit a huge bump and I was thrown up off the seat. When I came down, my feet missed the footpegs, and my right foot hit the pavement and was dragged under the peg. I had to grab onto Jon and pull my foot back up. It all happened so quickly that when Jon said “hey, cut that out, you almost wiped me out,” I realized he probably didn’t even know my foot had been under the peg at all.

It turned out there had been a bag of cement in the middle of the road that Jon didn’t see until he was upon it (on a rigid-framed motorcycle–OUCH), and I hadn’t seen at all.

Because I’d been at work all morning and was jonesing for a bike ride so badly I was willing to go even in unprotective shoes, I was wearing my fuzzy fake Crocs. When my foot hit the pavement and was dragged back, my ankle bent naturally to its full extent (like a ballerina points her toe, but noisier), scraping off a layer of the toe of my shoe.

Once I’d pulled my foot clear of the peg, I moved it around to make sure it still worked alright, and I hadn’t sprained or broken anything. I felt a bruise rising up on the back of my calf from the pressure of the peg, but my ankle was A-okay. Not even a hint of pain. We would not have to re-route our trajectory to the hospital. Wahoo! Thirty seconds after the hit, I was smiling again, glad to have the wind in my face and an hour left before I had to return to work.

When we stopped at my friend Jamie’s house, I couldn’t resist looking at the bruise. I’m a bit of a bruise connoisseur, having had so many in my time. This one was a beaut. Already the size of a tennis ball and a pretty shade of violet, I knew it was not finished growing. BUT… my ankle was still pain-free and fully mobile. I counted my lucky stars (and came up with a total of one).

I went back to work exhilarated, happy to have packed about as much awesome into a two hour break as possible. I’d been on a motorcycle ride during the beautiful, pre-dusk part of the afternoon, and I’d managed to see three of my favorite people (Jon, Jamie, and Jon’s dog Ivy) on my lunch break.

It was only later, when I was recounting the story to a coworker, that I realized my ridiculous Nerf shoes had probably saved my foot. Had I been wearing boots, like I normally do when I ride on motorcycles, they wouldn’t have flexed the way the fake Crocs did, and I probably would have broken my ankle–and, not being able to pull my ankle free, we may have crashed.

Instead, I happily strode into work with my hair and face windblown, smiling, and commenced to bounce through another nine hours behind the bar in my dorky, silly, ugly rubber shoes. The bruise is roughly the size of a softball now, and rapidly approaching black, but my ankle is still perfectly pain-free and comfortable after a nine hour shift.

So there you have it. Crocs are, in fact, genius (and can by loose definition be considered protective footwear).

Good night to you all, and a big, fat, emphatic, two-handed fuck-you to anyone who gives me shit about my absurd rubber shoes.