I park in the handicapped space outside the door over which hangs a sign which says, “Shoe Repair”. It’s the second place which I have tried today. The first had no available parking, so here I am.
I enter the door and gaze down the steps which I’ve been warned would confront me. Just then a woman enters the stairwell and says, Endless stairs here in Prairie Village, eh? and passes along side of me. She stands at the bottom, waiting, holding the door to the inner sanctum. Oh, go ahead, I call down, but she replies, I have all the time in the world.
When I finally reach her, I ask, How is it that you have all the time in the world, when everywhere people are so rushed? She smiles as we enter the shop and pause at the top of another set of stairs. Because that’s what I allow myself, all the time in the world, she replies, and saunters down the little flight of stairs to the chairs below us.
I spend a few minutes at the counter talking to the owner, who insists on calling his supplier to see if he has the buckle desired for my job. I have told him that I am not particular about the finish and he has dismissed the suggestion that any buckle will do. I am particular, which is all that matters, he remarks. I can’t have you out there with buckles that don’t look good because you will tell someone where you got them, and my reputation as the world’s best shoe repair person will suffer.
I have divulged that he’s been characterized as such to me. This clearly pleased him.
When we finish our transaction he tells me, Next time, call me and tell me you are here. I will come upstairs to you. I compliment his courtesy and he shrugs as though it is the least that I should expect — from the world’s greatest shoe repair person. Then I tell the woman who has sat through my entire transaction that I appreciate her having opened the door. You must be the world’s nicest person, I say. She tells me that her 21-year-old son would not agree.
Oh, but my 24-year-old son would agree, I insist, and she says that I must have done a good job with my son, that he’d be so kind. Give yours a few years, I suggest, and then I turn to ascend the stairs.
With a 3:00 p.m. call to a client scheduled, I go into the coffee shop. Seeing that they have both GFree and GFriendly (house-made) options, I decide that I have diligently dieted and exercised for an entire week and deserve an afternoon treat. The young lady steers me to the pot de creme, and I take it outside with my coffee. I sit in the flow of people with endless time on their hands, coming and going in their fancy cars, with nothing better to do on a Friday afternoon than shop, and drink coffee, and greet each other across the parking lot.
It’s the twentieth day of the twenty-ninth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.