I ducked into the Camper shoe store just as the rain was beginning to fall. Leisurely, I wandered around, imagining each of the funky shoes upon my feet – heaven! I lifted a pair of black high heels, intending to try them on, and realized I didn’t know my European size. I held the floor sample to my foot; at a 38, it was considerably smaller than my foot. I asked the salesman if he spoke English. “A little,” he replied. I told him I spoke a little Spanish. “Let’s speak in Spanish, then,” he suggested with a smile.
I started. “I’d like to try on two pairs of shoes, but I don’t know my size. Maybe I’m a 44?” At that, he burst out laughing. “44 is a man’s size! It is huge!” I laughed and lifted a foot. “Pero mis pies son grandes!” For a split second, I wondered whether I told him my feet were huge, or my stones were huge. Pies? Piedras? Either way, he seemed to understand. Or at least humor me. Still laughing, he asked me what size I wear in the US. I told him 8 ½ or 9. He suggested I try a 38, the sample in my hand. I compared the shoe to my foot and told him it was way too small. Still laughing, he brought me a 39 and 40. “You do not need a 44,” he said. Sure enough, I walked out with a pair of 40s and happy.