I recently brought my winter boots to the shoe shop in my neighborhood. They wouldn’t clean them for me, but suggested I purchase a suede cleaner. I turned the bottle over to read the fine print. Every material but suede seemed to be listed. I questioned the owner. He looked at me with pity, turned the bottle over and pointed to the label:
In my defense, I had little sleep the night before, and hadn’t had coffee yet. Regardless, I felt stupid, and I hate that feeling.
This isn’t the first time I’ve run into trouble there.
Several years ago I was on my way to pick up a pair of boots that I had resoled. On the way, I ran into Jon, the Turkish hairdresser, who was on his way to the coffee shop for our English lesson. I explained that I was running an errand, and would meet him shortly.
He volunteered to come with me, and before I could say no, he was accompanying me into the store.
The man behind the counter handed me a bag with my black boots. I gave him my credit card, and he explained that (for reasons I don’t recall) they would not accept it.
I didn’t have the cash, and was a little put-off by this. It really wasn’t a big deal. But, I had a long day at work, I was tired, and frankly; I really wanted my boots back. I’m not a shoe girl, so I tend to wear the same couple pairs all the time. Plus, I really wasn’t so keen having my student with me.
Jon could see that I was frustrated. He reached into his pocket pulling out a wad of bills, his hands stained with hair dye from the day’s work.
He said, “I’m going to pay you later anyway, no?”
This as he held up my boots, and nodded with approval.
I felt myself blushing, imagining how this whole scenario looked. This older “foreign” man paying for my boots since he was going to “pay me later anyway.” I thought of that scene in Pretty Woman when the concierge refers to Julia Roberts as Richard Gere’s “neice.” I’m more Punky Brewster than Julia Roberts. But still.
I’m his English teacher, I wanted to explain. But, it wasn’t worth the effort.