Beth Dolinar

Column Beth Dolinar

Beth Dolinar has been writing her column about life, both hers and the rest of ours, for over 20 years. When not on the page, she produces Emmy-winning documentaries for public television, teaches writing to university students, and enjoys her two growing children.

It was the shoes!

March 6, 2014

This sad story starts, as all recent sad stories have started, with the rotten weather. One day last week, the temperatures soared into the low 20s, and I decided it was plenty balmy enough out for a walk.

It had been months since I wore my outside walking shoes, the green ones with yellow laces and gel in the heels. Three months is a long time in this house, and things tend to get plowed under in the clutter, and so I went to Plan B, my other pair of the same size and make, but in pink.

Exact same shoes, different color.

I went for my walk, my usual hilly two miles, and returned with rosy cheeks and a frozen chin.

The next morning, I awoke with the worst backache ever. Unable to sit up without pain, I swiveled myself 45 degrees in the bed, using my behind as the fulcrum, and lowered myself seesaw-like into an upright position. And there I stood for a good five minutes, calculating my next move.

What the heck? What had I done to cause this? Had I lifted a car to rescue a trapped bunny? Had I been twerking in my sleep? Did I jump off of something and not remember?

Yes, I’d taken a walk the day before, but I do that every day whether on the treadmill or out on the sidewalk. I didn’t fall into a pothole or slip on ice.

Then I remembered. It was the shoes.

I’ve reached the point in my life where something so seemingly insignificant as a change of shoe color can confuse my back muscles enough to render me decrepit.

This is the part of the column where I reminisce about the good old days, when I could wear two different black pumps with slightly different heel heights all day and not only feel excellent the next day but also not even notice the discrepancy until I went to take them off. (It happened.)

Now, my feet have become so set in their ways that I change one little thing and they screw up the whole works. It took me two days to get over the back pain. And I still can’t find the green shoes.

With my luck, I would find them, wear them for a walk, and discover that my feet decided they preferred the pink ones, and I’d be stuck in my bed for a week.

Somewhere after 50, we all turn into the Princess and the Pea. If someone had put a pea under my mattress, I, too, would have tossed and turned all night. A wrinkle in the sheet can do that to me now. I’m even afraid that if I grow my hair much longer, the extra weight will injure my neck.

Obviously, I’ve got something out of whack. Maybe if I lose weight in my heels. Or build up my toe muscles.

Or maybe start all over with new shoes.

Beth Dolinar can be reached at



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