The most valuable asset of my local fast food establishment is not the fryers, the touchscreen menus, or even the functional soft serve machine (seriously).
It’s the girl with dirty shoes.
Once upon a time, when I went out for fast food to soothe my craving for sugar, salt, and fat, I saw that the young girl taking my order wore the dirtiest gym shoes I had ever seen.
The rubber soles had supposedly been white in the far distant past. Now they were shadowed by a thick haze of scuffs and dirt. The upper part of her shoes (I’m not a cobbler. I have no idea what the upper part of shoes is called except maybe possibly “The Upper Part of Shoes”. Creative, eh?) were black, but then again, they originally might have been any color at all. They were black now.
Normally, being the sound, healthy, and cynical person that I am, I wouldn’t have paid much attention to her, except that she was a happy, smiling, and pleasant person. I notice people like that.
Later, another time when I needed sugar, salt, and fat, I saw the girl again. Her attitude hadn’t changed, and she hadn’t changed her shoes.
The girl and her shoes made me think. She didn’t keep these old shoes because she couldn’t afford new ones. Shoes can be expensive, and she only worked in a fast food restaurant, but there are limits. If she wanted new shoes, she could afford a pair.
But she must not have wanted new shoes. She must have been perfectly happy with the shoes she had. The girl had an emotional attachment to her worn out old sneakers and was willing to put up with them through thick and thin.
If I were a richer man, I would have given her a million dollars.
I get tired of our society driven by expendable merchandise. Anything that no longer fits our needs is trashed and replaced: clothes, computers, cars, and relationships.
When faced with the slightest inconvenience, we immediately search for an easy solution.
It would be wise and healthy for us to exercise more maintenance on the things in our life instead of throwing them away.
I did not write this to say that I think everyone should wear the same pair of shoes for the rest of their life.
How many times have you wanted to quit writing? Or to throw away your rough draft?
Even though it is not comfortable, even though it feels clunky and bad, and even though we feel our writing and ourselves as writers are no good, keep writing.
Rework the rough draft.
Rewrite your opening pages.
Reinvent yourself as a writer every day.
Keep up hope. -BW
2 thoughts on “A Girl and Her Shoes”
Believe it or not, the upper part of a shoe is called “the upper.” They usually say “the uppers” because that’s for both shoes.
Great Scott! I was remarkably close. You have no idea how good this makes me feel. Thanks!