When my sister and I ordered ourselves hand-made sandals a week ago at the LaHave Craft Co-op we were told we would receive them in about seven days. Barbara, the sweet, gap-toothed, 60-something hippy woman who makes them, needs time to fashion her wares. Each pair is, after all, made to fit its recipient exactly. Upon receiving your order, she takes a detailed measurement of your foot, asks where you’d like the shoes delivered, writes you a receipt on a scrap of paper, and drives away in her antedeluvian blue Fiat.
We were nervous that she might not come through, but we needn’t have been. Today, just as promised — and just in time for our flight home tomorrow — the sandals came! They are so hand made that Barb actually did her final adjustments on the spot, tightening the straps to just the right place, then using a little hammer and nails to fix their positions. (Not when we were wearing them, of course. Still, I felt a bit like a horse being shod.) Before Barbara left she wrote out care instructions for me and my sister. There were many cross-outs involved. The sloppiness of it all was divine.
I wore my sandals around all day. I’m happy to say I’m a very satisfied customer. Buying a pair of shoes that costs over $30 is a big deal for me. I only stopped getting my footwear at thrift stores because certain family members — ahem — absolutely forbade it. Still, I’m far more likely to troll Target for high heels than Nordstrom. It’s rare for me to splurge on clothes of any kind. But in this case I’m glad I did. The sandals are not only great to look at and insanely comfortable, but — and this is the best thing about them — no one else in L.A. will have them. They are all mine (insert demonic laughter here). I may be a total nerd — no “may” about it, in fact — but I’m also very contrary. You know that shoe (or skirt, or long dress, or bracelet) that every hipster woman in L.A. is wearing? I don’t want it. I hate it. I don’t even know what it is, and I want to torch it and stomp it and plunge its remains into a deep well of battery acid.
Sorry. That was a bit strident.
Anyway. I’m psyched that, with these sandals, I won’t see myself coming and going. Except for maybe in La Have. But that I can live with. What’s good for the fishwives, after all, is certainly and absolutely good enough for me.