Against all odds and flying in the face of doubters, I’ve reached the end of my Masters in Creative Writing. I handed in my final paper around a week and two days and thirty minutes ago but who’s counting. But rather than streaking gloriously across the final hurdle like Sally Pearson on steroids (who said that???) I limped on crippled feet, Being at the opposite end from the sorely taxed brain you may wonder what feet have got to do with it. In a moment of misguided euphoria I used my first free morning after the FP to walk with a friend about a thousand k’s across town and back, or so it felt. All went well until the homeward stretch when my toes on both feet began to throb mercilessly. WTF I thought … toes? As if the rest of me is not sufficiently disintegrating? Et tu Brutoes? Can’t I rely on anything? Then I remembered. My circulation is failing in the extremities and I’m prone to chilblains in the cold, although after trudging said thousand k’s I couldn’t see how my toes could be anything but putrefyingly hot. But no, when I arrived back home and stripped my K-mart runners sans socks from the nether ends of me, (which on reflection weren’t the best choice of footwear for the thousand k stroll) there they were – two on one foot, one on the other, scarlet, pulsing and grotesque in the extreme … and in extremis to boot … or not to boot as it turned out. If you’ve ever tried to devise a cunning form of unusual torture, toe pain is a good one. For such a small and unimpressive body part, the toe packs some big nerves. I spent the rest of the day writhing in unmitigated agony. Even Ugg boots were too painful. The “for strong pain” painkillers blunted the searing knife edge stabs of hot throb not one iota and several stiff brandies only made me feel sick.
The real fun came when faced with selecting footwear to go out to dinner that evening – cancelling on the basis of sore toes seeming churlish not to mention chickenish, pathetic and too difficult to explain. Problem was anything remotely resembling a shoe that came within the vaguest proximity of the still pulsating toes, was clearly going to be out. Warmth of course being optimal for the treatment of chilblains, and it being a freezing winter night, I could hardly go in bare feet or heaven forbid thongs. Socks looked as though they might be possible without the need to administer a general anaesthetic, and they proved to be bearable if not comfortable. Then I had a brainwave … sandals. I’ve got a great pair of black ones, with a wide strap across the instep miles away from the toe area and easily able to be slipped on over the socks with nary a touch of leather to suppurating flesh underneath. So thus it was I ended what’s been three years or so of slog literally on a whimper.
There’s lots more to say about the last few months and how I conquered literary theory, but I’ll leave that for the next post. When my toes are better.
Oh and also … re the new title … had one of those days when I had a song on my mind that wouldn’t go away (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) and a horny backed toad insinuated itself into my attempts to come up with a new and catchier title for my blog.