Yountville is the last place I expected to be walking barefoot, carrying my shoes in my hand, doing what must have looked like a walk of shame. Except I wasn’t hungover and the shoes weren’t high-heels.
Last weekend one of my assignments was to take a few photos at Yountville Live, which is a food and wine event that thinks itself a mini-BottleRock. Since I was on deadline, I only planned to stay an hour – not realizing that most of my time there would be spent hobbling between the venue tents that spanned nearly eight blocks.
I had only checked out about half of the event when I realized that my feet weren’t going to make it to the main stage.
These shoes, little black flats from Target that I had only worn two other times, seemed perfectly comfortable the day before. At this point, though, I never wanted to wear them again.
I didn’t know what it was exactly, but I could feel my toe scraping against the inside of the shoe. My foot felt trapped and ached with pain even between steps.
I knew my time was limited.
Limping, I continued down the street, looking for the “live” music the event promised. I came across a man playing the guitar at Jessup Cellars.
“How do people walk in these,” I said to the security woman, trying to ease my pain through comradery. She said something but it must not have been what I wanted to hear because it didn’t help and I don’t remember it.
I took off my right shoe and assessed the situation. A second blister had formed next to an already existing one and was rubbing up against the side of my shoe. The victim, my baby toe – its skin pulled back – was starting to bleed.
I hobbled into the area behind Jessup’s tasting gallery and took a few shots of the guitar player. I tried to capture the joy on the faces of people dancing in the sunshine, but I couldn’t bear it any longer. I left and headed for the shuttle.
My feet were saved from walking back to V Marketplace but the rest of the journey I’d have to walk. I took my shoes off and hoofed it back to the car, keeping my head high and trying to walk on the grass when I could.
I felt awkward and a little embarrassed. I was sure people thought I’d had too much wine – it seemed like the only explanation. Having had none, I knew what a mess I looked like carrying flats in my hands, but I had no choice. My right foot was so swollen there was no way it was going to fit back in my shoe – it would’ve been like Cinderella’s evil sisters trying to put on the glass slipper. It wasn’t gonna happen.
I resisted flagging a stranger down for a ride and made it back to my car. Keeping my shoes off, I started the drive back to the office to upload photos and write my story.
It wasn’t until I had my foot on the pedal, though, that I realized not only had I developed (and broken) a blister, but I had also burned the bottoms of my feet during my personal death march on Yountville’s solar heated sidewalk.
The bottom of my feet felt warm to the touch as more blisters – lengthy ones – began to form.
My story made it in by deadline and I made the 30-minute drive home, but that was the last activity my feet were up for. I spent my two days off taking Epson baths and keeping my feet off the floor. It was like a sick game of “hot lava,” where not only can you not touch the ground, but it is actually painful when you do.
Not fun. Not fun at all.