There are several truths I have found in my life recently. Pears take an inordinate amount of time to ripen and by the time they are ready to eat, I’ve usually forgotten about them leaving them to rot in my cupboard. Secondly, I have the strange ability of being able to wake up in the morning and be in the shower before I actually realize I am awake. Lastly, shoe repairmen are very, very odd people.
I have taken in my leather boots two times now to either fix a seam or this time to fix a zipper and add a protective shield to my heel. Turns out, if you wear the same boots day after day, you can wear down the heel until it becomes so slippery that you find yourself sliding across the ice covered street to a possible death by an incapable Provo driver. True story. I took in my boots to a different repair shop this time and for a moment, I thought I was back in the other shop.
Everything was the same. Dark, slightly claustrophobic shop with old wood and dust covered shoes of every style and color. An assaulting odor of shoe polish and dried prunes. A large grey cat with bulbous black eyes and a strange fascination for licking my shoes.
For a moment, I even thought that this was the other shoe repairman’s brother or close cousin, at least. He had the same frizzy brown hair, small smudged spectacles, scruffy beard, and clothes stained with either age or perhaps the prunes I had been smelling. Shoe repairmen don’t talk much. He spoke in small phrases and in such a quiet manner that I wondered if he was trying not to wake up the shoes. He avoided all eye contact and chose instead to address his questions to my shoes. I wonder if he was waiting for them to reply.
Oh yes, shoe repairmen are odd people. I don’t think they were always this way; I imagine they are the result of too much time spent with the shoe polisher and glue and too many hours spent alone talking to the resident cat.
I said goodbye as I left, turning to see him holding my shoes in one hand and stroking the hind leg of the cat. He said nothing.