The rain is gone, the sun is shining. It's a beautiful day here in Brooklyn. Walking up Henry Street from the parking lot, I stop at Cranberry's to get my coffee (Decaf, soy milk) and a muffin (apple walnut). As I'm getting my change from Annette (the owner) a quarter falls on the floor. As I reach for it, I look at my shoes. Whoa! They're a mess! My chocolate brown Johnston & Murphys are gross, I can't go to work like this.

So, I leave the store and walk over to my guy, the best shoe shiner in Brooklyn. He's a young Hispanic guy with a speech impediment. I'm not making fun of him, he doesn't need to speak to me to get his job done. Around here, a lot is done with a nod or a grunt.

I knock on the window of his store and nod, he smiles. I walk over to the shoe shine stand and hoist myself up. I hike up my pants and wait for him to come out. For me, getting my shoes shined is my moment of peace before a busy day. Sitting watching the people walk by is so relaxing and gets me ready for the day. I play a game when up on the stand; I try to figure out where they're all going once they enter the subway. Banker, lawyer, student, artist we're all equal on the subway. Even billionaire Mayor Bloomberg rides the subway -- he's just one of us down there on the subway. I digress. Getting a shine is a two-or-three time a week ritual for me. If my shoes don't look good, I feel less than complete to face my day.

My guy walks out and says, "Hello." I say, "What's up pal?" In his accent, he says to me that it's a nice day out and I agree with him. As I read an article in New York Magazine about private school kids and the Facebook teacher bashing that's going on, I hear him say, "Okay, done." I say, "Beautiful," My J & M's look great again and I can walk to work happy. I hand him a five and tell him to keep the change. Hey, I used to work for tips and so I return the favor to those whose livelihoods are based on the tips I give them.

On the way down Clark Street, I see a co-worker, Alan, and we exchange some comments about the weather and how we both hate the heat of the coming summer. I step through the doors of the courthouse ready to do what I do best, me and my freshly polished shoes.

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Comment by Deborah on May 2, 2008 at 4:10
Never underestimate the power of a really great pair of shoes, or in your case, a freshly polished pair. I was wearing an adorable pair of brown Mary-Janes with a small stacked heel the other day and I felt on top of the world.
Comment by Sue Baker on May 1, 2008 at 16:32
What a great post! You ARE a good writer. Thanks for the treat.

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