Yes, you read the title correctly, and no, don't worry: I'm not about to go all After School Special on you. It's just that having a cast on my leg has come with all sorts of new life lessons to sort out, and learning to handle inappropriate foot touching has only been one of them.
I just wish the technician who installed my cast had been a little more clear on how my entire life was about to change, but she contented herself merely with telling me not to get my cast wet and not (I promise that this was her only other advice) to drop pennies down into it.
It turns out that there are plenty more things she could have warned me about my imminent cast-wearing adventures. Maybe she thought it would be fun to let some of these things come to me as a surprise.
Things They Didn't Tell Me about Wearing a Cast:
- Casts weigh approximately five hundred pounds.
- They are not, as the technician claimed, made of fiberglass, but are actually formed from a dangerous combination of sandpaper and moon rocks.
- Showering will now require the patience of Job, the strategic cunning of Napoleon, the willpower of an Olympic triathlete, and a ridiculous rubber boot that will cut off all circulation to your entire appendage---once you actually get it squeezed on over your injured extremity, that is. Have fun stripping the skin off your knuckles as you scrape them against the sandpaper coating of your moon rock cast while wrestling this cobra-like contraption on over your damaged limb, you poor schmuck!
- That the falling-and-catching-yourself-at-the-last-minute-while-jerking-your-legs-madly dream was about to get a whole lot more annoying.
- You will have to deal with everyone's sudden compulsion to touch your exposed toes.
For some reason, this last one has been one of the more difficult trials to bear. Interestingly, it has not been close friends who have felt compelled to touch my toes either. Instead it's been mere acquaintances who have suddenly found themselves unable to resist the temptation to walk up to my elevated, casted foot and either 1) make some well-meaning, sympathetic remark about how swollen my toes still are (word to the wise: they're not really swollen any more. That's just how my toes look. Thanks for noticing!), or 2) reach out and touch my toes, possibly while going, "Boop!"
Now honestly, people. Had I been propping up a sandaled foot on the chair in front of me, none of you in your right minds (one would hope) would feel comfortable walking up uninvited to another grown adult to boop her exposed toes.
But somehow this cast seems to be a great social leveler, inviting all and sundry to treat my toes as if they were the toes a well-beloved family member.
This must be how pregnant ladies feel about unwanted belly touches. I mean, in what scenario would it be wise to approach a lady and unexpectedly lay the flat of your hand across her stomach? The fact that she is pregnant does not necessarily make it open season on spontaneous belly touches, and the fact that my toes are exposed and propped up at face level does not mean that I want you to touch them.
Having never experienced pregnancy, I'm in no position to offer advice on warding off unwanted belly touches. I am, however, in the unique position of offering advice on handling unwanted foot touching.
How to Handle Inappropriate Foot Touching:
1. Have your toes amputated. Admittedly, this is bit extreme, but still. Problem solved!
2. Instead of having people sign your cast, have it emblazoned with the insignia, "DO NOT TOUCH!", a frowny face, and an angry arrow pointing downward. Although if your friends and family are anything like mine, this will just provoke them.
3. Cut down a few of your socks to half size, worming a fresh one into the front of your cast each morning, thus removing temptation from view. It took me three weeks to think of this, I'm ashamed to say. But I'm happy to report that not only did nobody touch my toes today, but that for the first time in weeks, the poor little things remained warm while I was at work.
The truth is that although wearing a leg cast can be difficult, it's certainly not the hardest thing ever. I mean, I recently watched a Youtube video about a this amazing, armless woman. And although I don't like having people walking up and touching my (possibly swollen) toes, I've been thinking lately that at least I have toes.
And that reminder makes everything -- even inappropriate foot touching -- a bit easier to handle.