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How a pile of shoes snapped me back to pre-COVID reality

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Among the strangest things so far about the COVID-19 emergence era is realizing I had no memory of an entire season of clothing – specifically, footwear.

This did not become clear until two weeks ago. It was the second time we were meeting vaccinated friends at an actual restaurant and I decided to visit the attic to check out my shoe options. What I found was a plastic garment bag stuffed with 10 pairs of black sandals.

Ten pairs? you might well ask. I hate to shop. I had found a couple of comfortable brands and had stocked up via the internet with the intention of never having to buy shoes again. I’d say don’t judge me, but I’ve already been through a Facebook judging session. Some friends found all of this hilarious. Others brought the snark. You're certainly ready for some warm-weather funerals, one said.

A sister-in-law posted an emoji of a red spike heel. Message: Toss them. Then there was the elementary school friend who, as fate would have it, became a shoe designer based in Florence, Italy. She was puzzled by the pile of unworn shoes: Why were they inappropriate COVID choices?

The point is, I had not given them a thought. I wore the same pair of shoes and the same handful of shirts for 18 months. Rotate seasonal clothing? It never occurred to me. There were days on end when I did not go outside – did not have any idea what the........


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