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I get to the shoe-repair shop at 11:50, worried that he might have closed ten minutes early because who wants to repair shoes in a dusty little shop on a beautiful Saturday the likes of which we haven’t seen in months? Without those steel-toed boots, Captain OCD couldn’t work on Monday morning.


Despite the piles of shoes and bags on them, Shoe-Repair Guy uses every one of those machines every day. And those lovely Velcro shoes on the counter? The green tag says that they were to be picked up in February 2010. His business operates around those green tags. The oldest one I saw was 2008. The sign that says “Items left longer than 30 days may be disposed of” does not scare me.

“Hmmm. Today? Well, hmmm. I think— I wonder— maybe— hmm. Yes, that does say, that does say, hmm, Saturday. Maybe I—. Well, they should be in my— But they’re not in my Saturday box. Maybe they’re over—. No, no, they’re not— Ah! Okay, here they are!

“Uh oh, hmm, did I get these done? It looks like I did, didn’t— So, yes, I— But I didn’t— And I still have to—


Through the clutter here, about three feet away from me, I could I barely see him squatting down, operating what sounded like a sewing machine, sitting on the floor. He pops up and, like magic, two small leather patches sewn on hard leather boots in a spot that I am certain is impossible.

“Do you have someplace to go? For an hour or two? Could you come back?”

I came back, happily.