Prune Feet

I checked the forecast before i left the house. Rain. Lots of it. I made sure to take my hat. However, i didn’t own a rain coat. I had boots but none that were fitted to my feet and would last an 8 hour shift without rubbing blisters. The company provided us with extra large banana-yellow ponchos that were so big you could barely get your arms through the sleeves to hold the smart phones. This of course was so that they could fit the largest people. It was a one size fits all situation. (That’s a lie, by the way. Even with socks, when it says “one size fits all” it means it fits large people snuggly and it fits small people in a stretchy manner with extra fabric where it is not needed).

The rain began shortly after i arrived. The skies opened up and it poured. The parking lot quickly became a lake. We all donned the yellow ponchos but the water was not only falling from the sky…it was seeping into our shoes. There was an inch to an inch and a half of water standing in the parking lot at all times during the next 3 hours. During my second order delivery, the water ran into my shoes through the breathable mesh on the sides. It just soaked in. It was cold and thorough. I stood there loading the groceries into the customers car and telling her to have a good day, all the while knowing i was doomed. I trudged back to the building, more water entering my shoes with each step. As i walked, the water traveled from the bottoms of my pants legs in an upward motion until my jeans were soaked halfway to my knees. It was cold and wet. The sensation felt wrong, as if i’d gone swimming in my clothes.

The others waited until the intensity of the rain had lessened, a couple hours, and then they called their mothers or boyfriends to bring them a new pair of shoes. However, i lived alone and had no family in the area. There wasn’t anyone who had a key to my house besides me. My house was an hour round trip. I knew there would be no heading there to fetch dry clothes and there would be no calling anyone to bring any either. Once my comrades were all in dry shoes i sighed and settled in for a long shift. My socks were soaked. My shoes were full of water, and my pants were sticking to my legs. My toes went numb after the first couple hours of my shift. The smart phones tracked everything we did and we were timed throughout all of it. The poncho sleeves extended over my hands and prevented my ability to hold the smart phone, pushed bag handles away when i tried to grab them, and got hung on everything in sight. The ends of the poncho kept getting caught under my shoes and tripping me as i attempted to run. My shoes were leaking water with every step so i was hesitant to sprint because i had multiple things working against me in the “staying upright” department. It was a giant mess. I was dealing with that. Others were opening and closing umbrellas with each order and loading the groceries with one hand while they held the decorative mini lightening rod above the basket. I knew our time scores would be atrocious but i felt they would have to put themselves in our shoes. We were drowning. There was no way we could move faster in these conditions. We were doing alright just to maintain ability to speak and keep the water off our glasses and smart phones. The customers were all very nice to us that day. I was surprised and made a remark about it. A coworker told me it was because they felt sorry for us having to work in the rain. I hadn’t thought about it and assumed they were all just in really good moods at the time. Half way through the shift my team leader began asking me to do shopping runs in the store. That meant i would need to get twelve orders done in under an hour to maintain my time scores. I would have mere seconds to grab each item, with soaking wet socks, shoes, and pants. I dutifully obeyed. However, i did not want to lose my shopping time scores. So, i put my physical sensation out of my mind and ran like the wind, sprinting up and down the aisles like usual, raw and pruned feet rubbing against the wet socks within my shoes with every step. I finished all my shopping runs with good times and the runs took longer than deliveries, taking my mind off the progression of the shift. Finally, it was near time for me to go home. I had 5 minutes left in my shift. They put me back on parking lot deliveries for the remainder of the shift. I expected i’d only deliver an order or two before heading home but the end of my shift came and went and my team leader did not release me. I picked up order after order, waiting to hear the words, but she still did not release me. We were in the middle of a rush and short staffed so i figured they had decided to keep me until the rush died down. This is in fact what ended up happening. When the rush finally died down the team leader checked the phone to see who was due for a break. I was not listed as “on shift” as according to the smart phone i had already gone home. It turned out they had just forgotten to release me in the chaos. I was given the verbal notification that i was good to go and thanked for staying through the rush. I managed to clock out and gather my items. I walked through the building and scanned my badge at the door. I walked to my car and stepped in. As soon as the weight was off my feet and i allowed myself to focus on something other than the task at hand the waves of different pain hit me. My feet felt warm and there was a burning and tingling sensation shooting through the middle of them. All of my toe nails seemed to be digging into the wet swollen skin i had been running on for 8.5 hours. All of the joints in my toes ached in an unbearable way. This kind of dynamic pain came in waves with the shooting pains, burning tingles, the sharp toe nail pain, and the aching joints all working in tandem to make it very difficult for me to drive the car fast enough to match the speed limit. I cried “oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!” throughout the whole 30 minute drive and i begged God to give me a better ability to shoulder the pain. When i arrived home the pain was lessening and only the joint aches were left. I did the evening chores quickly and put the dogs in the house for the night. Only then did i take off my socks, pants, and shoes. As i peeled the first sock away from my foot i saw that the bottom of my foot had become a field of blisters. I peeled the skin away from my foot at each little puffed up pocket. I made a little pile by the chair. I placed my raw peeled feet on the little folded towel i used as a bath mat in the bathroom and tried to soothe them by finally getting them dry. It took a good 15 hours for the blisters to close up and dry out completely. I babied my feet through the next day and wore memory foam boots and loose cotton socks. I bought knee high rain boots online and had them set to deliver to the tractor supply in town. The ponchos often dripped water from the edges onto pants or into shoes. They also drug on the ground and collected the water there. My thought was that knee high boots would eliminate this problem. Next time, i will be dry. I may still be catching the sleeves on everything in sight and the smart phone will probably be wet but i will be dry. No more 8.5 hour shifts with prune feet.

It’s raining again, but this time i am ready. Off to work!

Well, the boots arrived at tractor supply. They were not quite as long as they appeared in the example picture. However, i think they are still tall enough that the ponchos won’t be able to drip into them when its raining buckets.

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