I received my best compliment of the year already and it’s only January. I’d been railing for a full hour to a friend about work, love, politics. Then I mentioned as a grumpy aside that I’d been taking dance classes “all year.” “Well,” I corrected myself. “One class anyway. Yesterday.” “What kind?” she asked, finally interested in something I had to say. (I couldn’t blame her; I was being terribly boorish.) “Tap,” I answered. “See?” she said. “That’s the thing about you. You act like a grouchy grownup but you’re wearing braids and striped socks and corduroy gauchos, and I heard you singing Hair songs on your way into my apartment and the kind of dance you’re taking is tap. You’re a cute person who doesn’t admit she’s cute, which makes you cuter.” Of course I’m repeating the story here, which is not especially cute. But all in all, a great compliment, one that says more about my friend’s generosity of spirit than my own alleged charms.
I’m trying to figure out if it’s the shoe repair industry (which does entail chemicals that addle one’s brains) or Williamsblergh, but none of the four local cobblers I’ve used over the last five years have ever had my shoes ready when they’ve said they would, not even when I called ahead and they said over the phone that, Yes, of course they are ready, yes, miss, yes, come over now.
Today, upon learning once again that, no, my Rachel Comey oxfords were not ready, I got so frosty–green eyes glowing wickedly, double Ds thrust forward (this terrifies most men), lips pressed together with a Tony Soprano-wait-’em-out firmness–that my current shoe repair fellow nervously halved what I owed him. (It was like that time Obi-Wan Kenobi hypnotized the storm trooper into ignoring C3PO and R2D2. Me: You will knock 50 percent off. Him: I will knock 50 percent off.) I’d feel bad except that I’m a big believer in “Whatever your job is, do it well.” Which is to say: “You snooze, I don’t pay full prize for my shoes.” I’m left wondering, though: How is this a good business practice for him? It’s noteworthy that these places go under with a suspicious regularity. Are they drug fronts? Mafia lairs? Whatever, man. I just want my kicks.
The weather has been cold, damp, interminably British. I inadvertently cut off most of my mermaid hair in what I’m calling the retrograde special. And I really, really hate Hallmark holidays. Under the auspices of “if you can’t saying anything nice,” it’s seemed wisest to keep mum. (Pun intended, obviously.) But head honcho Jupiter finally went direct again, I’m starting to see how my new cut can reference Debbie Harry and Veronica Lake, and the weather today was gorgeous–strong sunshine, gentle warmth. I actually dared venture to the greenmarket, where I found the loveliest things: skate, farm-fresh eggs, chives with pretty purple buds, red and green shell-leafed lettuces, ramps, sheep milk yogurt, you name it. Best of all, most everyone I love seemed happy, which made this extroverted introvert happy. So I’ve decided to officially emerge from my shell. On this mild May evening, I send you lilacs from my bedside table, the snuggle of a certain permakitten, and the peach and violet sunset gracing everyone smart enough to look. In the immortal words of Mr. O’Shea Jackson, “Today was a good day.”