You need to know, if you care about me at all, that I used to be REALLY EASY TO SHOP FOR. Shoe-wise, that is.
So easy, in fact, that my mother used to call me The Imelda Marcos of the Midwest.
Seriously. I could buy shoes from catalogs. Alas, those days are long gone.
I'll spare you the details of my Podiatric Hell. My kids are probably the best people to ask about how annoying it is now to go shoe shopping with me.
Why can't I find stylish, dare I say it, CUTE shoes that don't hurt?
But I digress.
I found myself a nice pair of winter boots. Stylish enough. And, oh, so comfortable.
Then, one day, a few weeks ago, tragedy struck.
On my way out the door to get the children from school, the zipper on my right boot suddenly refused to zip. I pulled. I swore. I got the tool box out and tried to find a way to maximize my leverage. Or maybe it was my torque.
I tried, in the late afternoon gloom that is Moscow in November, to see if I could identify what was wrong with the zipper teeth.
I had to go get my reading glasses in order to see the black zipper on the black boots in my dimly lit hall.
I even applied soap, hoping to entice it to S-L-I-D-E. No luck.
NOTHING LOOKED AMISS. What the hell was wrong with the stupid zipper?
Eventually I was able to get the zipper zipped past the Problem Area. I was even able to get my foot in the boot. But the zipper gaped open below the Problem Area. And proceeded to get worse.
After consulting with my trusted Moscow Expat Friends, I confirmed what I suspected:
- Russian women break boot zippers, too.
- Boots are expensive.
- Any of the Shoe Repair Kiosks all over Moscow ought to be able to repair or replace the zipper.
- I should expect to spend about 200 rubles ($7US).
- Which is less than I was quoted to replace a much shorter zipper in the Ancestral Village this summer when I took in a pair of ankle boots I essentially trash-picked out of the detritus of my father's third wife's belongings. (They have fur around the ankle, and are CUTE CUTE CUTE. But not as comfortable as my tall boots. No way.)
There is a nice shoe repair kiosk in the Mall-Under-The-Street about 800 meters from my door.
Just far enough that I want to make sure the shop is open before I go over there. It's not on my way TO anywhere I regularly go.
So, of course, I went over the other day, carrying my one boot in a bag. And even though the sign in the kiosk window said it should be open, it wasn't.
So I got to take my boot to the grocery store.
The Spouse said he would go with me on the weekend, but then he ended up in the hospital. I wore the boot anyhow, feeling like everyone in Moscow was Staring at The Gap in My Zipper.
I'm sure it was barely visible to the naked eye, but I was very self-conscious.
So yesterday I thought I would try again.
I girded my loins, put my boot in a bag, and marched off to the repair kiosk.
Let me just tell you that December 3 shall henceforth be known as Saint Shoe Repair Dude Day. Because Shoe Repair Dude fixed my boot zipper!
Yes, he had to faff about with it a bit, going through the same WTF?!-It-Looks-Like-It-Should-Work-Just-Fine Analysis I did.
He got out tools, and then different tools, and then still different tools.
I was frantically practicing in my head just how I was going to mime "Can I pick it up tomorrow?" when he suddenly solved the problem, demonstrated it several times for me, and charged me 50 rubles.
That's like a buck seventy-five.
I was so grateful that I bought a tube of Super Glue and some black shoe polish from him.
Well, not grateful, exactly. But feeling guilty cuz I only had a 1000-ruble note.
This was the high point of my day. I'm still all giggly about my Newly Refurbished Boot.
Sad, isn't it.