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January 9th, 2008

Shoe repair shenanigans

I was absolutely avoiding it.

The dread that was created from the very idea of leaving them behind was overwhelming, unimaginable and unfathomable. So I continued on trying to evade what was ultimately needed until it became unavoidable—I had to get my beloved boots fixed.

I was walking cock-eyed from the imbalance of the worn-down soles of my boots, placing them carefully on the concrete walk leading up to the shop of terror, the shop where they would take my boots from me for an unknown amount of time. My boots—my knee-high- black leather-comfortable-1 ½” square heel-rounded toe-love of my life-can’t bear the thought of them being more than an arm’s distance away (let alone out of my closet for an undisclosed amount of time) staple-go with every outfit boots… my boots. I took a deep breath of anticipatory regret before opening the glass door garlanded with a bell announcing that I would be giving up a part of my life, my other half, the half that protected my feet while giving me steps filled with purpose.

“Hello?” I tentatively called out, still unsure of my decision.  “Hello!” the man replied with a heavy Russian accent, “What can I do for you?”  “Well, I need this part fixed,” I said as I raised my foot into the air pointing to my heel, (Of course I was wearing them!  It wasn’t like I was just going to hand them over to a stranger without knowing the man that would be responsible for their healing, not to mention the unknown amount of days this guy was going to leave me naked with out them!  Like I said before; these are the loves of my life, my staple boots!  I take care of my babies—And this guy had to earn my trust).

Him: “Okay, I can fix. No problem.”

Me: “But how long will you need them for?” I asked, afraid of the answer.

Him: “Oh, about 10 minutes.”

Me: (exhaling) “What?”   

Him again: “It will take about 10 minutes to fix.”

Me: (in a voice of disbelief) “That’s all?  I mean, that’s it… you can fix them now, in 10 minutes?”   

Shoe guy, in that thick Russian accent that seemed to be getting cuter by the second: “Yes.  Take them off and have a seat.  I fix while you wait.”

Me: (with an air of exuberance… um, actually make that over-exuberance) “Oh my god!  I love you!  You are my new favorite person!” 

So I sat on the old chair in the small waiting room swinging my feet like a little girl anxious to put on my new-old shoes which he was fixing with suave precision right in front of my glowing eyes.

Glancing at the old particle board side table next to me I noticed a "National Geographic" that I knew I had seen before.  I laughed as I picked up the January 1985 edition with the beautiful cover image denoting the main article of the publication; Koko’s kitten. The giant guerrilla Koko sat caressing her minute kitten as she cradled the little being in her arms. They were illustrated in such a light that they both seemed as fragile as porcelain dolls.  A beautiful image; a suspended moment in time that had probably not left the particle board side table since it had been delivered over 20 years ago.  It was perfect where it was, without so much as a scratch on the cover, nor a fray on the binding.

I spent the next 10 minutes relaxing during a bare foot interlude in an otherwise hectic and fast-pace life, with the soles of shoes continuously being worn down to a fraction of what they once were. No more wobbling down the street with ankles folding inward. No more dread of the unknown cobbler whom I envisioned with a wart on his crooked nose and a permanent snarl on his maniacal face, not to mention his long, groping fingernails twitching to get his hands on my precious. Yes, not only had my shoes been repaired, but I found a new best friend, and his name is Anatoliy from ‘Shoes on the Run.’ My friend who called after me as I left via the singing belled door, with my previously warped shoes newly balanced and polished to a sheen; “I will see you next time!”  He even cares enough to see me again… what a friend to have! Everyone needs a trusted cobbler who makes your day a little brighter, your shoes a little shinier and your step a little higher.

Thank you Anatoliy; until next time my friend.

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