Sunday, April 7, 2013

My Favorite Old Boots

Two days ago the right one of the pair breathed its last.  I have had these boots for many years, and there were periods when I wore them literally every day for months.  When the original heels wore out, I had them replaced and wore them until they began to literally fall apart at the seams.  Then Friday morning the right sole just gave up.

I wore them to Korea back in 2008.  Just as people in other East Asian countries do, Koreans tend to spiff up when going out; their clothes are neat and pressed, their hair is neatly brushed, and everything matches.  So while riding the subway train in Seoul one day, I noticed that everyone sitting across from me was wearing clean, well-shined shoes;  far from being embarrassed about my scuffed, dusty and discolored boots, I wore them proudly as a mark of my American distinction.

As it happened, when the boot gave up the ghost (gave up the 'sole'? hah!) I had just bought a coat at a second-hand shop in Hollywood and was on the way to have it dry-cleaned (BTW, I like to wear second-hand jackets and coats because I don't have to be careful in them;  they come 'pre-broken in', as it were;  and besides, I often see other guys wearing great-looking threads that I would love to wear myself but I can never find them anywhere, so why not just buy other guys' clothes?).  So there I was, carrying a rumpled old winter coat someone gave up, on a warm L. A. morning, walking awkwardly in a cracked flappy boot, with a big fat shoulder bag that was also beginning to fray at the seams -- I probably looked halfway to being a homeless person.

Which reminded me of the last time something similar happened.  I was going home late at night a few years ago.  I had just recently moved into the loft, and I was parking in a lot across the street while waiting for a space to open up in my building.  I had been shopping for groceries and was trudging tiredly toward the crosswalk when the sole of my right shoe suddenly became separated.  Rather than walk in the awkward, flappy shoe, I decided to take it off and carry it, since there was no one around to see -- so as I continued on, walking down an empty downtown sidewalk at night, carrying heavy plastic bags in my right hand and a flappy broken shoe in my left, the same big shoulder bag slung precariously from my sloping shouder, it occurred to me that anyone seeing me just then might well conclude that they were looking at one of the many crazy homeless folk that people downtown L. A., and they would be perfectly justified.

Anyway, at the cleaner's I asked for a piece of tape to try and temporarily mend the boot, but it didn't work very well.  I ended up driving to a shoe store to buy a new pair of shoes to wear home.  I might still take the old pair to a shoe repair shop, though, to see if they are worth repairing.

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