Don’t Die With Unworn Shoes

I wrote about this on Facebook but feel here I can give a little more detail to the story.

Fashion always frightened me.  Not because I didn’t like nice clothes, but because I had always told myself two things.  One, you don’t deserve nice things and two, don’t ever draw attention to yourself.  I lived this way for a very long time and only recently have I battled those dragons and won.

Last year I purchased a pair of brand new suits for a special event that I was hosting in Port Townsend.  I spent so much money on the suits that they gave me two gift certificates to use in the store.  I did nothing with them until a week before the expiration date.  That is when a friend said to me, “It’s time you got some grown up shoes.”  I looked down at my blown-out tennis shoes and couldn’t argue with her.  So I took the two certificates to the store and ordered a very bland pair of brown boots to be delivered in a few days.  (They had a wingtip design that I really liked but the color made them ordinary enough to keep me in my comfort zone.)  A few days later I went to the store to pick them up and was shocked when the clerk took them out of the box.  They were green!  Green suede wingtip boots!  To someone like me, they were the equivalent of being offered Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to wear.  But the truth was…I LOVED them!

That day I walked out wearing green wingtip boots and it was awesome.  Nobody pointed and said, “Hey!  What are YOU doing in those boots?!?!  Get back in there and buy something more ordinary!”  It was the beginning of my journey into wearing clothes that I not only liked but legitimately felt good wearing.

Each time Scott, my landlord, saw me in the boots he would stop me to tell me how much he liked them.  Scott runs a construction company and is a very “blue collar” guy in every sense of the word, who also happens to be a shoe connoisseur.  What he didn’t know was that I was worried about wearing them out, so I had purchased an identical backup pair of boots and kept them in my closet.

A few years ago my Uncle Roy passed away and we went to clean out his house. His closet was filled with brand new shoes that he never got around to wearing.  We buried him in a pair of shoes that never touched the floor.  Because of that experience, I decided that I wouldn’t die with new shoes in my closet.

Scott was working in the office below my apartment and I popped in under the guise that I needed to get costume pieces for an actor that was about Scott’s size.  I asked him what size shoe he wears, since the “actor” was about his build.  He told me that he wore size 13, the same size as me.  I returned a few minutes later and handed him the box with the new boots.  He was floored.

At the end of 2012, I was in a bit of a bind.  I needed to find a place to live that I could not only afford but was able to come up with the first and last month’s rent.  My options were not good and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.  That is when Scott offered to let me rent the apartment above his shop.  He said, “No need for a security deposit or any of that stuff.  I trust you.”  (Even though we had only met a handful of times and knew each other less than three-months.)  The plan was for me to stay in the apartment for just a month or two, until I could get my feet back under me.  That was seventeen months ago.  This apartment has become more than a place to get my footing, it has become my home.

I told Scott that I appreciated him giving me a place to stay and how grateful I was for his friendship.  He laughed and said, “I would have done it even if you hadn’t given me these boots.  But I am really glad you did.  I love them!”

But that is not the end of the story.

A few days later I was leaving and he stopped me to say, “Hold on a second!  I’m going to make your day!”  He ran into his office and emerged with an amazing pair of leather boots he had been keeping in his closet.  I tried them on and they fit me perfectly!

Whenever one of us sees the other wearing our “gift boots” we share a smile and a laugh.

It’s easy to point out the dark sides of humanity but there is much more beauty in the world than darkness.

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