Thursday, October 16, 2008
I did something strange today, something out of order from my usual way of doing of things. But before I say what that was, I'll say what I do as a routine every morning. Like most people I awake from a sleep at the sound of my alarm clock, opening my covers and lifting myself from bed. I'll stretch my spine, shake my head twice or thrice, yawn widely and then begin to put on my clothes: shirts, belts, pants, socks, etc. Of course I leave my shoes for last, carefully wedging my feet into them by using a foot long sturdy metal shoe horn with an ersatz ivory handle. This morning I did all that, all but the putting on of my black leather brogues. Instead, and here is the strange part, I just stared at them. (I would imagine I was as transfixed as any zombie). I gave a precise look at each hole in the brogue pattern. My eyes followed the leather creases that come with natural wear. I looked at the stitched welt, the crisscross of the shoelaces, and peered into the shoe where its leather last looked solid and adequately constructed. These are fine shoes, English made. I treat them well, making certain they are properly cleaned and polished, always replenishing them with good moisturizing lotions. I shine the leather with a quality horse hair brush in steady side to side swiping motions until they give a luminous reflection. And I do what most people forget: I hide them from dust where its small inhabitants live to eat away at the stitching. But this morning I just stared at them--minute after minute until my eyes strained, until my mind grew weary. Finally, with the aid of a shoehorn, I put my feet in the shoes, wiggled my toes, shifted my weight, and went out into the dawn air. Once outside I did as I do every morning: I stood on a dusty patch and with the tip of my right shoe I drew a line in the sand. Then with a confident step I crossed the line and walked through the rest of the day.