About five years ago, I started having a problem with airplanes. It wasn’t a fear of flying, or a fear of the plane food, or a fear that the person in front of me would recline so much that I would be forced to look up his nose for the duration of the flight. No, the problem was my feet. For some reason, suddenly, my body decided that feet and flying don’t mix. Regardless of the length of the flight or the shoes I wore, my feet would swell. And it wasn’t just a little swelling. It was like a cross between elephant feet and an African baobab tree stump. My ankles would disappear and the area between my calves and the tips of my toes would merge into one large uberfoot. This is not an attractive look for even Horton or Dumbo, so you can imagine how pleased I was when we flew home from vacation last week and my feet looked like I had turned into a Hobbit. After several years of this I had started to wear compressions socks. These are supposed to help with the swelling but for some reason have not been updated style-wise since women won the right to vote. Combined with orthopedic shoes (yes, I was also blessed with flat feet), the overall look is essentially nursing home-chic. When I put them on, not only do I look like an old lady, but I suddenly have the desire to change my name to Helga and tell everyone stories about how hard life was in the old country. Now, this is something I am willing to put up with temporarily to avoid said Hobbit feet, because a) I generally don’t care what the other people on the plane think of me, b) the flight attendants have seen far worse, and c) the 40-year-old woman sitting across from me in the zebra print onesie with matching slippers and a tail looked a lot stupider than I did. Unfortunately, this time, I forgot to pack the compression socks and within an hour of takeoff, my feet were so swollen that I had to remove my shoes for fear that my feet would burst out of them and the shoes would become dangerous projectile missiles capable of shooting across the plane and knocking out the lady in the zebra onesie. As my feet grew in size I wondered who was more miserable; me or the mother of three who forgot to download movies onto her iPad for her kids to watch and P.S., this was an old plane and there were no TV screens on the back of the seats. I thought for a moment of helping her out by distracting her kids with swollen foot tricks I had mastered on previous flights (sort of like making balloon animals), but ultimately decided it was every unhappy frequent flyer for themselves. With no end in sight to this foot flightmare, I finally decided to give in and accept my frankenfeet and try to get some sleep. My husband, seated next to me and without any kind of foot trauma, had immediately dozed off when we got on the plane. But no sooner did I close my eyes than my husband began to snore so loudly he nearly drowned out the plane’s engines. I realized then, that there was actually one benefit to having freakishly enormous feet. I turned on my side, extended one of my Hobbit feet ... and kicked him. — For more Lost in Suburbia, Follow Tracy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage and Twitter @TracyBeckerman.