5/13 – CHANGING SHOES

FLAG ITA  Chloe Brebberman. Bella, estremamente sicura di se, quasi sempre vestita di nero. Poco trucco ed i capelli impeccabili ma naturali, borsa super fashion e… tacco 10! Chloe e’ la classica donna newyorchese. Quando l’ho conosciuta l’ho presa subito ad esempio. Chloe cammina a falcate, occhiale scuro in volto e due cellulari in mano, lungo la 42ma Strada. Entra sicura dentro e fuori i grattacieli di Midtown, Vogue sotto braccio e auricolare penzolante. Ma c’e’ un trucco…

Appena arrivata dalla provincia veneta volevo anche io entrar a far parte di questa setta di donne sempre il bilico, sui tacchi, al lavoro, nella vita. Mi chiedevo: ma come fanno con le metro, i taxi, le grate per strada e i marciapiedi a livelli diversi? Un giorno sono andata a pranzo con Chloe e mi e’ stato tutto chiaro: “my dear, the secret is to have a change!” –  “mia cara, il segreto e’ avere un cambio”. E cosi’ si e’ spigato tutto: le donne elegantissime con le sneakers ai piedi viste in metro, e quelle agli angoli delle strade con il piede destro ingabbiato in un sandalo altissimo, e quello sinistro felicemente coccolato da una comoda infradito.

E cosi’ anche io mi sono andattata. Niente macchina, gran camminate e spostamenti con i mezzi. Tacco 10: not an option! Tempo qualche settimana ed ho iniziato anche io a cambiare le scarpe appena uscita dalla metro, perché dovevo comunque fare un’entrata regale al lavoro. Cosa che avrei ignorato decisamente dopo i 30.

Un pomeriggio di fine luglio stavo cambianto le scarpe alla fermata della metro rossa, sulla 72ma strada e Broadway. Ero di buon umore. Mi si leggeva in faccia. Con la testa tra le nuvole, allacciavo la scarpa destra e osservavo una mamma ed un bambino seduti davanti a me. Il bimbo aveva un gran gelato in mano, che non riusciva a mangiare abbastanza velocemente. Il gelato era piu’ sulla sua polo a righine bianche e blu che in pancia. La madre cercava di aiutarlo. Ma lui no. Voleva fare da solo. La madre riderva di gusto. C’erano dei bellissimi sguardi di complicita’ tra di loro.

In quel momento presi una decisione: avrei provato. Avrei rischiato. Avrei amato. Avrei emozionato e mi sarei emozionata. Arei vissuto appieno. Non c’era alternativa.

FLAG US Chloe Brebberman. Beautiful, extremely decisive, almost always dressed in black. Very little make-up and impeccable but natural hair, a super high-fashion bag and… super high heels! Chloe is the quintessential New York City woman. As soon as I met her, she became my source of inspiration. Chloe walks along 42nd street with her gazelle-like legs, dark classes on, and two mobile phones in her hands. You can see her getting in and out of Midtown’s buildings, a copy of Vogue under her arm and dangling headphones. But there is a trick…

As a small-town girl from a tiny village close to Venice, Italy, I wanted to fit in immediately upon my arrival in US. I wanted to be part of this cult made of women always in precarious balance with their heels, their work, and with their life. I kept asking myself: how do they do it with the subways, the taxis, and the uneven sidewalks?  One day I went out for lunch with Chloe and I got my answer: “my dear, the secret is to have a change!”. And that explained it all for me: the elegant women wearing sneakers on the subways, and the ones I had seen at the corners of the streets with the right food trapped in a cage-like sandal, and the left food happily snuggled by a flip flop.

So I adapted myself. I didn’t have a car, I was walking all the time (a daily average of 10-12 km) or using public transportation. High heels: not an option! A few weeks after I arrived, I surrendered and I also started changing my shoes right outside of the subway stops. I still wanted to do a regal entry when arriving at the office. Something I would have ignored after I turned 30.

One afternoon in mid July, I was changing my shoes at the subway stop of the red line on 72nd Street & Broadway. I was happy. It was very visible on my face. I was tying my right shoe while observing a mum and her son sitting in front of me. The kid was trying to eat a huge ice-cream, not fast enough though. There was more vanilla on his white and blue striped polo than in his belly. Yet, he wasn’t going to give up. No. He was going to finish it all. His mum was laughing hard. There was a lovely exchange of looks between them.

In that precise moment I took a decision: I was going to try. I was going to risk. I was going to love. I was going to dream. And make people dream. I was going to live. To live fully. There was no alternative.

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