Friday, July 11, 2008

Cue Music!

We had lots of time to talk. Joe had to walk up the hill to get the car, where we'd parked because all the disabled bays were taken by people who didn't even limp, and he was walking very slowly, very carefully from the taxi which had dropped him off at the door to the store. He reminded me of that children's poem ... there was a crooked man who walked a crooked walk. He was a thin as a blade of grass and bent in the middle. His shirt was tucked severely into his pants which were held up at nearly nipple level by a belt that looked like it had recently been polished.

His steps didn't look painful, but he walked as if he was in pain. He noticed me in the wheelchair and smiled. I smiled back. Old guys like to talk, usually, so I said "Hi." He nodded and stayed focused on the walk. Then he glanced down at my feet and stopped. "Those those Birkenstocks?" he asked. I told him that they were indeed. "They want me to wear something like that," he said. Then he resumed walking, it really was as if he couldn't walk and talk at the same time. Because he brought up the subject of shoes, I looked down to see what he was wearing.


Cowboy boots.

My Uncle Jim used to call them "Shit kicker boots." I never knew what that meant, and in case you don't either, they were the kind of cowboy boots that have a high heel and toes that could kick the eyes out of a flea. There was stitching on the sides and, like the belt, they shone as if they'd been rubbed with butter.

"Nice boots," I said while thinking that I understood why 'they' wanted him to wear something else. He was walking like he was on stilts. He stopped. Really. He did. He actually couldn't walk and talk at the same time. It was kind of weirdly cool.

"Yep, I've worn boots like this my whole life, as long as I'm walking I'm going to wear something with style. (Pause, beat beat beat,) No offense mister."

"None taken," I said, smug in my Birkenstocks.

"I may walk awful slow," he said, "but these boots ..."

"I know, I know ..." I said and started to laugh.

He couldn't say any more because ... "Ready boots ... Start walking."


Belinda said...

Oh, I LOVE this piece of writing. It's worthy of reading out loud to my grandchildren, except that, "Shit kicker boots!?" Well, you explained what they are! :) Hey, they probably already know about such things, what am I thinking? And I bet they are related to those heels of Lina's.

I loved your being "smug in" your Birkenstocks, being a fellow Birkie wearer, too.

Great writing--and great reading!

Kei said...

LOL... love this!!! 'Shit kicker boots'~ my hubby has used that term before. He also points out the extremely pointy toed~ 'corner cockroach killer' boots when I look at them online. I've yet to find the perfect pair of fashionable walking boots. I do have a great pair of 15 year old hiking boots though... too bad they don't go with every outfit, lol.

Allison said...

"...because all the disabled bays were taken by people who didn't even limp..."

Dave, come on, really.

Disabled stalls are NOT just for people with mobility problems. They issue tags for people with respiratory issues, people who are blind, people with cardiac problems, etc.

Anonymous said...

allison, come on, really. get with the tone of the article.

Colleen said...

Dave loved the story - am a fellow Birkie lover myself.

About the accessible parking - where I live and travel (Hamilton/Toronto/Belleville) these spots are constantly violated by people with no tag and who appear perfectly able-bodied. Yesterday at the grocery store there was a guy who took up not one but two accessible spots - parked smack dab in the middle of them both - and no tag on display. And there is not a darned thing any one can do about it - so he will keep doing it.

gracie1956 said...

Shit kicker boots...I thought they were pointed so they could go up the butt when kicking someone's ass when they really needed it kicked. You know...those people who park in the handicapped spaces when I really need to use them! Sorry for the terrible language, (I guess) but I am from Texas so I should know these things. Sorry again, (I guess) I was born a smart-ass and have been practicing for 52 years!

Shan said...

But nobody has mentioned the coup de grace, "toes that could kick the eyes out of a flea".

That is just hilarious.

gracie1956 said...

PS...I have to tell you what just happened when I hit the publish button on my comment. It is about 12:40AM here. This guy came and knocked on my door and I, like I have good sense, actually opened the door. He said his car was in the ditch and if I hadn't been in a wheelchair he was going to ask me to pull him out with my truck, but since I was in a wheelchair he was sorry to have bothered me!!! just can't get away from prejudice even in your own house, in the middle of the night, while reading Chewing The Fat!!! Well anyway, I pulled him out of the ditch. I bet he never tells anyone that a fat middle aged woman in a wheelchair rescued him tonight.

Heike said...

I think in the interest of my blogging career i'd better move to Canada. Where do these people keep coming from Dave? I thought all the weirdo's were living here in Australia...
Heike (who got married in her Birkies - truly!)

Stephanie said...

You all are killing me, LOL!!! I too have heard the phrase "Shit Kickin boots", I have the pleasure of working daily with an older gentleman who wears them! And (LOL again) I can't tell you how many times in the last two years I have found myself singing "boot's are made for walkin" in my head and probably a couple times out loud with him in close proximity. This is all made a little more comical when you hear him complain about how sore his feet are and watch him waddle away in his "boots" that were obviously NOT made for walking! Mind you, we work in a manufacturing plant, standing on our feet for @ 9 hours each day! What are people thinking?

Foot attire being assigned titles is hilarious...CFMP's was one is school...oh boy, that's a completely different post isn't it??

lina said...

A blog about shoes - Dave, you made my day!!!

rickismom said...

Well, I vote for hiking boots any day! My Dad has some shiny boots with points, but NOT for hiking!