Can we have our cake and eat it too?
Recalling my student days in Heidelberg,
I recall wearing skinny pointy-toed
high heels with my slim pencil skirts.
In the Heidelberg winter months,
I wore rain coats, carried an
umbrella in one hand and leather book
bag in the other as I headed to
university lectures. My journey
involved one bus trip and two trolley
trips followed by a short distance on
foot. Normally bumpy cobblestoned
streets became slippery, wet in rain.
Carrying an umbrella which opened by
simply pushing a button was useless
against the windy, rainy day I faced.
But young folks are invincible, right?
Wrong. I learned my lesson the hard
way on this particular day as I headed to
the university. As I pushed the
button to open it, the umbrella
caught in the wind and turned inside out!
Next lesson learned the hard way:
don’t run for the trolley, ever.
Why? My stylish footwear was
no match for the slippery cobblestones
underfoot. Young, invincible, I ran
anyway with an inside out umbrella.
My mother’s words played in
my head at this moment: remember
to wear sensible shoes! Another lesson
learned the hard way. Mortified,
I leaned over to pull my stylish
high heel from the trolley tracks.
Walking, hobbling with one shoe
on and one foot in stockings,
I gathered myself together
as best I could and hopped
aboard. Red-faced and dripping
wet, I tried not to look at
my mildly amused fellow passengers.
The older women were probably
thinking foolish me for wearing
such impractical shoes.
Lessons learned the hard way
are the ones remembered in
life. My coats have hoods; my leather
gloves are now cashmere-lined.
My footwear now includes snow
sneakers, boots and Birkenstock
sandals. Despite hard-learned lessons,
I recall fondly my student years in Heidelberg.
And the words of a trusted friend:
never run for the trolley. Why?
Another one will be along in
ten minutes. Another lesson learned.