Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Shoe Shine

Getting your shoes shined by an older gentleman with a stand and a chair on the street is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  (Sorry, ladies, but it remains something of a bastion of chauvinism.)  It is a ritual, an indulgence, and a spot of cosmetic maintenance as old as modern America.  Men these days might opt for the same euphoria but from a facial, a manicure, or a hot stone massage.  Give me a shoe shine over those.

It might also be the only in-person conversation you have all day -- not texting, not e-mail.  If you're not a barfly or a flibbertigibbet, you could use the information exchange and soul connection talking with the shoe shine man brings.  You can talk about the weather, the changes the city has gone through over the years, the latest celebrity death -- whatever.  My conversation today was mostly about fishing:  Berryessa, San Pablo, Clearlake, East Park; rainbow trout, catfish, bluegill.  I had no idea I could get a license at Big 5 off of Sloat and during the daytime catch bass out of Lake Merced.  Good to know.

$7 is all you need down at Market and Montgomery to experience a storied and resonant tradition in American manhood.  Well, I paid $10 -- after all, I feel a tip is obligatory, and besides, the gentleman does have a grandchild on the way...