"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view....Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." --Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
As an English teacher, I regularly deal in metaphor, which perhaps explains why taking something too literally on Monday morning felt both delightful and more-than-a-little transgressive.
I was shuffling the short distance from the bus stop to school in the chill December dawn when I noted a thin layer of overnight snow coated the sidewalk. It was early enough that I was just the second person to traverse the white canvas. The heavy tread of someone else's bootprint made this case plainly.
An unexpected compulsion throbbed through me: I needed to walk in those same steps. I wasn't being followed, nor trying to conceal how many of me there were; I just had to do this. So, I adjusted my stride to let my foot land on top of the next print. Each step following suit, a smidgen shorter than my natural gait, I made my awkward way along the walk. Turns out occupying someone else's shoes -- just the outline of them, really -- is hard, uncomfortable work.