Laces

It’s like an old western shootout. I face her, she faces me, tumbleweed blows between us… “can I help you sir?” She asks eagerly fingering the switch on her walkie-talkie. “Yes I’m interested in the brown/light brown combo over here in a size 10.” She, without missing a beat barks UPC codes to a henchman in the back, who moments later is holding a box.

I nod defeat, this sales person is pretty good. I sit on a beige rectangle and furtively remove my ex-shoe and try on my new… hold on, this feels tight. I look down at my feet hoping I, in my haste to try on my new pair of kicks, forgot to remove a bunch of screwed up packaging paper. I didn’t. I could have sworn I was a size 10 in this brand. “shit” I say under my breath, realizing that either the shoe company has changed it’s sizing or I flipped up and asked for the wrong size. Now she’s going to think I’m a big asshole and basically loose all respect in me as a footwear consumer.

“Do you have these in a 10�? It’s just that the summer makes my feet swell and…”

She looks at me, her eyes say “asshole” and her sudden shift from one foot to another tells me she’s thinking “stupid asshole.” “10�? Right?” “Yes please.” I reply, hoping the shoes will arrive quickly so I can get the hell out of dodge. I remain sitting on my beige monolith watching the shoppers ask for shoes in all ranges of sizes. One woman even asks if the have her size in a three shoe spread.

That’s ballsy.

“Here you go.” she says pushing the box into my hands and walking away toward another more competent shopper. I open the box and see shoes that look like they could fit. Nervously I remove them and set both on the floor, the sweat on my brow dripping down my forehead. I feel as if all eyes in the store are affixed on me, silently judging….

It fit.

I rise triumphant, box in hand and wave my saleswoman over. “They fit?” She asks, doubting my competence. “Yes they do. I’ll take them.”

Walking into the bright daylight outside the store, I have a passing urge for a cigarette to celebrate, but realize I don’t smoke anymore and instead settle for a bag of _peanut M&M’s._

Subway station at 96th street on the C line

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