Holey Shoes

Friday, February 11, 2005

Here's a sample of the mascot I've been working on for the new sewcrates.com. I don't think he'll fit, but it was fun to draw him.

The original sketches: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

It’s a wonderful day in Seattle. It started cool and foggy (I know you’re not interested in this weather report, but I’m going to give it anyway), and by three, the sun was out and people were playing soccer in the grass. Seattle is spoiling me for winters. The weather here is seasonal, with brilliant moments of seasonal relief. Evenings are another story, with the frost on the grass most mornings with heavy fog caused by the drastic change in temperature. We’ll see if this continues through the weekend.

Doolies was thinking of visiting this weekend. I wanted to see her, but she’s on call on Sunday night, and I thought it ridiculous for her to fly here tonight and return Sunday afternoon to work that night. She agreed (only this morning) that it is ridiculous. I would fly to her, but I have this no flying two weekends in a row rule; mainly because of my weak constitution. I didn’t recover from last weekend’s flight until Wednesday, and I can’t bear ruining another week. Doolies will move closer one day. I wish it was sooner, but “distance makes the heart grow fonder,” or something silly like that.

The exhaustion of flying reminds me of something I once read. I think it was in one of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker books, where he wrote that the further you fly away from home, the more stretched you feel, as if there was a spiritual umbilical cord connecting you to your birthplace. I know I’m getting this wrong, but flying does something to me. Even short trips, such as the two hours and change from here to Doolies, exhausts me more than jogging for two hours (okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but close). I think I use “but” too much. Maybe it’s not possible to use “but” too often, like you can’t use “is” too often. I’ll have to give this some thought. Talk about useless asides.

Even as I write this, I think of people I can call to distract me from finishing. Luckily, after calling, none of them was not home, so I’m stuck typing away, sipping yummy caffeine with my feet on the desk examining my fancy new hiking shoes (there are plenty of pictures of them in the last photo shoot). I had hoped to tell a quick story. I’d love to finish the Lucille story one of these days, but I don’t think I’ve developed it enough, and every time I start, it fizzles. I want to give it more time to bake and then decide whether to go for it, or throw it aside. With much further ado, here goes nothing.

Walter finished his hotdog in his second bite. He wiped the mustard from his lips with the heel of his hand and without thinking wiped his hand on his pants. He held two bags: one holding electronic goodies he didn’t know he needed before he bought them, and the other filled with chocolate chip cookies for the drive home. He examined both bags and realized that he was missing something. His wife never sent him to the mall unless she wanted him to buy something, and that something was never goodies.

He stared down at the brown tiled floor and tried to remember. Walter wasn’t a good shopper, and if given the choice, he would have preferred to spend Sunday lounging in the living room with his feet on the ottoman and his finger on the clicker. Walter knew he was easily distracted but this was ridiculous. He sat down on a wooden bench and watched the legs of people pass by him, looking longingly at the shapely ones and following them upward to judge other parts. As a group of men in blue and gray business suits passed by, with a sickening feeling he remembered what his wife wanted: dress shoes.

On Friday, his wife was going to drag him to the wedding of one of her friends, and his wife was sick of his holey shoes. He didn’t think there was anything wrong with them, especially after he super-glued the broken leather straps encircling the shoes. Sure, there was a hole in the sole, but the hole wasn’t visible unless he put his feet up, and he promised his wife that his feet would remain flat on the floor at all times during the wedding.

Walter was a sneaker man. He wore basketball sneakers to work, and before marrying Margaret, couldn’t remember owning a pair of shoes. Walter was conscientious, and kept a pair of black sneakers in his closet for times when the dress code disallowed the white type. He wore shiny shoes for his own wedding, but he rented them, and felt it was a small sacrifice to marry a woman like Margaret. After Margaret moved into his house, his black sneakers disappeared under mysterious conditions. Walter’s only clue was a neat note he found where he stored his sneakers. It read, “Donated to a needy busboy.”

Walter found a mall directory and began skimming through the possible shoe outlets. There were a bunch of shoe stores, but he knew they were overpriced. If you only sold shoes, his thinking went, you had to mark them up to make a profit. Department stores didn’t have that problem, since they sold other things, such as socks and belts, which could offset the cost of the shoes.

***

Okay. That was the best I could do for today. There was a plan for this fun little story. I’ll ruin it for you by sharing that plan:

Synopsis: Man goes into a shoe store to buy loafers for a retirement party. The salesperson is a beautiful woman, who goes out of her way to help him. She pushes him toward two pairs: the first is a relatively inexpensive shoe, but she can’t find a size that fits him. The other is an expensive pair, and she finds the perfect shoe. He doesn’t want to spend that much on shoes, but she convinces him, and he buys it. He builds up the courage to ask her out, returns to the shoe department. He tries to ask her out, but she interrupts him, asks him if he wants to buy another pair, and when he says no, she blows him off, walking away before he can even ask. He returns the shoes, citing “irrevocable differences” (the term for divorce—I forget it) with the shoes, and walks out.

Looking back at the synopsis and story, I have either to remove Margaret, or change the plot. I like Walter, and he doesn’t seem the type to cheat on Margaret. That’s for tomorrow, I guess.