Crawling From Under Your Feet

feet pictureHate is a strong word, and in most cases it’s too strong a word for me to use. However, there are a few things I have an aversion to in this world: whiners, spiders, liars, thieves and feet.

Today, I will talk about feet.

I am a foot-watcher. I look at people’s feet all the time. In fact, I could say that what I dislike about feet is my obsession with looking at feet. If exposed feet are within my field of view, my gaze immediately falls upon them. It’s an involuntary reflexive act and I don’t realize I’m doing it until after I have already fed upon my obsessive, compulsive need.

I admire pretty feet. Perfect toes make me smile. Babies’ feet, those are some amazing little eye-candy. It’s funny, how I can’t recall ever laying eyes on a baby’s foot that was ugly or rough or unsightly. They are soft and beautiful, no matter the child. I have found myself even reaching out to touch babies’ feet, just to remind myself that feet were not always the most disgusting features on the human body.

Most feet repel me. I see more of the ugly, misshapen, calloused and rough versions than I do the faultless ones. Toes that twist and bend in unnatural ways, or lengthy ones that curl off the end of the sandal to touch the earth below. Gnarled knuckles and bunions make me want to puke. So do rippled toenails hued jaundice yellow, whose thickness and texture would only liken to Ruffles® brand cheddar potato chips.

My father’s feet were not bad-looking, but oh my goodness, the smell would permeate the room in two seconds flat after removing his work boots at the end of a hard day. I would almost bet his socks would have stuck to the wall if I had thrown them at one. Yuck. The thought, the memory, of my dad’s feet jolts me back in time. He passed away years ago, and so did the stench.

My feet are not the ideal perfection I so often seek in the world. My second toe is slightly longer than my big toe (but it doesn’t hang off the end of my sandal). Once, when I was a little girl, a cousin once compared that second toe to her pinky finger. Snuggled together, side by side, they were the same length. I think I was eight or nine years old then, young enough to know embarrassment and avoided wearing sandals with open toes again until l was twenty-six years old.

Yes, I stare at feet. I admit it. Am I proud of myself? Definitely not. Maybe what I seek to find are those rare examples of natural beauty – so few among the masses – and from those I have seen, most are simply repulsive.

Will I ever find the cure to my rotten obsession? I often daydream of a day sometime in my future, where I can actually look someone in the eye when I’m speaking to them.

For now, all I can say with relative certainty is, “If you’re wearing sandals, I’m crawling from under your feet.”

P.C. Shoffner – ©2012

[This was an exercise from last year’s Gotham Writing Course’s Creative Writing Class. I had so much fun writing this one.]

Creative Commons License This work by Patricia C. Shoffner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at