Why is coming out of lockdown so much harder than going into it? There is nothing I want more than a return to normal life, yet so many aspects of normality seem insurmountably daunting. Take shoes, for example.
I was never the kind of woman who lived in heels but I could rise to the occasion when I needed to, changing into a pair in the back of a taxi on my way to an important meeting. People did notice, I was sure. Especially if they saw me try to walk without holding on to a wall. Now the thought of wearing heels again feels a bit like how wearing a whalebone corset must have felt to a woman in the 1920s. But it’s not just heels, it is any shoes that aren’t trainers.
Unfortunately, this weekend has called for real shoes. Yesterday, I coaxed my car, all covered in moss, down the A40 to visit the family for an Easter lunch. I could not go in my Asics. Trainers worn when not actually training are, to my mother’s mind, evidence that someone has “given up”. Since I was already expecting a lecture about my lack of dating success in the light of my refusal to go after James Hewitt on Tinder – “Trudy, you’re just too picky” – I needed to head her off at the pass. I had no doubt that my sister-in-law Helena would be dressed in new season Boden and espadrilles with ribbons to highlight her dainty ankles . Is there such a thing as “new season Boden”? It looks exactly the same from year to year to me.
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