Heading into the first week of shooting and I’m nervous. I’m trying to keep that a nice healthy nervousness as opposed to the paralyzing anxious nervousness that would do me no good. I’m going to try just calling it excitement and see how that works. Sometimes giving something a new name works. Yup, it’s working. I’m excited. Yeah, that’s what I am. EXCITED.
So, shoes, boots. They need work. They need to be fixed. Everyone needs a shoe guy. I guess not everyone but people who wear shoes that need to be resoled do. I pretty much only wear boots of one kind or another. I don’t know if I can fully explain the joy of getting your boots resoled. It’s like adding life to hurting, old friends who you’ve grown to rely on to carry you through life. It’s a very personal relationship one has with their shoes. All it takes is a shitty shoe repair guy to fuck up that relationship. You don’t want to put your feet friends into an uncomfortable situation with a repair job that isn’t quite right. It might kill them. So, your relationship with your shoe guy has to be one of trust. They have to be the real deal. They have to have the grit and experience to work their magic. It’s a fucking craft, man. It’s a life. It’s a necessary occupation.
I went to a guy in my hood a couple of times. This guy George. He’s an old dude. I think he may be Armenian. He has an edge to him. He’s a big guy. He smokes in his shop, which I like. When you walk into a shoe repair place there should be smells: Leather, oils, glues and cigarettes. George had all that going on. Also there should be old, dusty display cases with purses that never sold and hooks with old laces and maybe a shelf of polish and shoe products that look like they’ve been there for years. I mean, you can get that kind of shit online or at other stores. That’s not their business. What’s essential in that space is their expertise. George had it but was a little too detached and a bit angry. He said he used to do subcontract work for Red Wing as he poked around in his supply of heels looking for the size that would fit my boots. He put them on in a few days and also sharpened some knives for me. This guy had two old timey skills but the heels didn’t look or feel quite right. My boots weren’t happy. There was no love in his work and my boots were mad at me for letting him fuck with them.
So, I brought my other boots to a guy I kind of remember having worked on my shoes once before, Haruts on Eagle Rock Blvd. I walked in and there was a little, old man there at the counter. He was attached to a portable respirator that had about 30 feet of tube so he could move around the shop. That’s commitment. All the requisite stuff was there but I felt a little uncomfortable for him. He said he just got out of the hospital a while back and was just getting back into work. I’m ashamed to say I felt weird leaving my boots there because if he died before he fixed them I wasn’t sure if it would be easy to get them back. I wanted him to have the work though. It was clearly his life and I was willing to lose the boots or deal with the sad possibility of him not making it to have him work on my shoes. I left them there for a couple of weeks and picked them up the other day. When I turned them over to see the new soles and heels I got a warm feeling in my whole body. It was fucking art. They were beautiful. He had molded the heels and sole perfectly to the boot with little divots in the arch and a light polish on the sole itself. There was a lot of love and craft in it and I just looked at him standing there behind the counter with his tube beneath his nose and said, ‘Great job!’ He put out his fist for a little bump and wandered back into the shop. I don’t ever want to wear them. I just want to be able to turn them over and look at them for as long as I can feel that feeling of warmth that comes from seeing a job well done.
Today I talk to comedian Geoff Tate. He’s an Ohio guy and we get into some good stuff about narcissistic parents. Also, today I talk to Nick Kroll and John Mulaney about their show ‘Oh, Hello’ which is opening on Broadway. Thursday is a Jazz double-header with two separate talks, one with music critic Ben Ratliff and the other with sax wizard Kamasi Washington.