feeling old fashioned

Happy coming weekend to us all. Tonight I went all blitzkrieg and wrote four full blog entries. For a second I contemplated just combining them all into one but instead chose to prepare them all for auto-posting a day at a time. Boom; all done for tomorrow and half of next week. Beautiful.

This morning, for the first time in my life, I sat and blacked my dress shoes. I suppose people still polish their shoes, but it seems somehow arcane. An activity of yesterday. I vaguely remember my dad shining his shoes. He had a fancy “kit” with a brush and a rag and he looked like he knew what he was doing. Probably learned proper shoe-shining protocol in the service; toned boots to see the CWO’s face reflect in the gloss. Me, I had no idea what I was doing. The instructions on the back of the Kiwi can verified that I already know everything there is to know about the basics: it’s just like waxing a car – put it on, buff it off. But the mechanics befouled me on my first time.

Even getting into the can was initially a mystery until I figured out the little rotating key is to be used as leverage in lifting the lid. For some reason this made the whole thing seem more old fashioned to me. This simple little tin with the clever lever action turnkey thing, it all seemed like an example of the brilliant-simple engineering from the war years. Everything now is overkill. Garbage cans that need to be plugged in so their motion sensors can see you approaching with your refuse and mechanically open and close the lid for you and machines that “clean the air” with negative ions. Over-engineered in the name of modernity and “cool.” Stupid. Here was a little formed tin with a blob of black junk inside and a little key to help you pop the lid. Function without excess. Like I said, made it all seem the more anachronistic an activity.

But I made do. I stuck my hand in the shoe and made what fist I could to hold it tight so I could move the cloth around it and paint on the black. I don’t have a fancy kit with brushes and rags like my dad, so I just used an small microfiber towel (I bought a 10,000 pack, or some such ridiculous example of excess, of them from Costco nine years ago and I’ve since found a multitude of uses for the things). I’d darken the surface with the stuff using one end of the towel, and then go back over it and rub it in with the clean end. I sat at the kitchen table using the light from the sliding glass door to help me see my work. Afterward, I was pretty happy with things. I managed to obscure all the scuffs and little lines and improved the overall “blackness” of the things. I turned the shoes around in my hands admiring them before slipping them on and getting on with getting ready.

Made me feel old… sitting in pinstriped dress pants and a blue dress shirt and black socks shining my shoes.

Like I’m at that point in my life.


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