When I worked in the tack store, I took advantage of my discount, and purchased the one, top of the line, luxury item I could afford. Ariat field boots (retail in early 2000’s, $500). Over the years, I also wore them casually, why not? Everyone else was in the tall boot craze, I’d been ahead of the curve! I haven’t worn them in several years, and in fact, had to get them from my closet at mom and dad’s house. I’d forgotten and left them in the garage overnight, so they were a little cold, but despite not having been softened by wear in many years, I got them on this morning, and went on with my routine, taking the dogs out. In that 10 minutes or so, I realize they probably won’t be comfortable for all day wear, given how stiff they are, and I should take them off. As perfectly as they fit, I was always able to shimmy out by myself, but not today.

I call for reinforcement (a la, my boyfriend, still in skivvies and socks), he pulls, I wiggle, nothing happens, except the Chinese Handcuff effect. The gorgeous, contoured fit of the boot creates a vacuum. My calf muscles start to cramp. I am trapped.

For fives years in the tack store, I dealt with this situation, and am proud to say, I never got a customer into a pair of boots, that I wasn’t able to get them out of. Today my record fell. In a calm, non-rushed-to-leave-for-work scenario, it probably would have ended differently. I could have gotten more comfortable, relaxed my legs, and we could have worked them loose. There was no time for calm and relaxing, we were both now running late. I feel sweat start to bead on my scalp, and the pulsing cramps developing in my legs. As sick as it makes me, I grimly look at my boyfriend and say, “get the kitchen scissors.”

I laid facedown on the bed so he could see, and (at least!) get to the back seam, of my beautiful, worked-so-hard-for boots, I hear cutting, then ripping as he turned into the Incredible Hulk and tears the seams apart by hand, and finally, the relief of blood flow to my lower legs again.

He has to rush off, and I’m left sitting on the bed, looking at the wounded remains of my boots. Luckily, I think they’re salvageable. A cobbler should be able to repair the back seams and make them appear good as new again.

I texted my boss, and the couple of women who would wonder where I was, to let them know I’ll be late, and explain briefly my crisis. They’re glad I’ve survived, and can’t wait to hear the story. One woman I told, was mortified that we cut them, because they’re so expensive. I said, “I can get new boots, I can’t get new legs! I’m not Lieutenant Dan!”

This is not how I expected to start my day…


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