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shoeshine shoes on the bus

I had been going around in sneaks so ratty that a damp sidewalk would get my socks wet. Finally I went out and bought some sturdy leather shoes, brown, with beige stiching, and real hard leather, not suede.

I scuffed em' up real quick, and it reminded me what it was like to have shoeshine shoes.

I got on the bus to go downtown and there was a guy with his shoeshine setup...a frame built from two-by-fours, basically a low seat with a platform for someone to raise one knee and set a shoe before him.

"You going to work or coming from work?" I asked him after awhile.

He was pretty reserved at first, "Goin' to." he said.

But pretty soon he started to get all animated about it, "I been doing this for fifteen years...you believe that?"

He looked down at my shoeshine shoes, "I could do your shoes...right now...wouldn't take me but a minute."

"I don't have even a buck in cash."

"I'm not talkin' about cash," he said, "it's the start of my night and I'm just ready to get to work!"

I looked at the time. "I get off by Westlake. Let me get you a couple of bucks at the ATM there, and you can shine my shoes at my bus stop, so I don't stress about missing the last bus."

He was really excited by the time we got off the bus, and I could tell he was really on his game that night. As we walked he was already working the people sitting in front of the Starbucks so he could come back to them later. I got out some cash and finally, with great relish, he slapped his 2x4 frame down on the brick surface of Westlake Center and I lifted up one shoeshine shoe and placed it on his little platform.

He took out an almost-empty can of brown polish and did a good, quick job, making little shoeshine kung-fu noises and trying to get pretty girls or people with shoeshine shoes to stop and be next.

I handed him the ten dollar bill (which I can only assume is still a pretty fair rate for a shoeshine, even these days) and caught my bus with shiny shoeshine shoes.


Yay! No more scuff marks!

Another thing for my list of things to do, eventually: get me somma those shoeshine shoes. :)