Sunday, 14 September 2014

The shoe odyssey

I'm a simple person. I like stuff that works and I like when it works forever. Alas, my old Pentax gave up eventually and since I do a lot of photography, I finally scraped up the money and got a new camera. And, obviously, being who I am, I'm pretty pissed.
Yes, the shutter opens which is a great improvement but the sound is different and, more annoyingly, louder. I like my shit quiet, grrrr. And the buttons and knobs are in different places. The thing feels different in my hand. And it's just different, damnit.
On the other hand, my bespoke leather bag is still almost like new and will remain so for several decades so there's at least some equilibrium in the world.

I hate shopping. I mean, I'm fine with going to the bakery getting my bread. I hate going through shops and never finding anything I need. The other day, I needed to buy shoes. Ordinary black flats, size 42, US 12, black, flat, leather, decent quality. I had a bit of time so I went to a mall. In one store, they had various stuff made from a large choice of synthetics, up to size 41 and the clerks looked pretty annoyed when approached so I just left. At Bata, they used to have that little shelf with "oversize" stuff where one could find a few pairs of something sligtly boring by brands that tend towards the expensive side but on the other hands, leather, good fit, looks slightly boring but reasonable so I went to look. After not finding anything, I asked the clerk and she said that yeah, sure, but they had to restock the oversize corner all the time and it was too much hassle so they don't have it any more. I sighed, saying that I need some nice black flats in 42, is there a chance of finding something, the clerk replied, let me check, there's this in 42, and brought me a pair of brown pumps with 10 cm heels. I politely thanked, thinking that it's certainly vodka o'clock. In a nearby boutique where they do have my size on a semi-regular basis, I held up a nice black flat and asked Could I have this in 42?, the clerk went to rummage and said Sorry, sold out. After repeating this about three times, I asked Are there ANY black flats in 42; the clerk merrily explained that I must come at the beginning of the season when they have new stock because they send some choice of models and sizes from the central, and not everything arrives up to 42 and when it does, there is only one or two pairs and they get sold fast. I nodded wisely and asked why they do not restock the stuff when it's in demand? Well, the central doesn't like it, there's paperwork and extra hassle, you know. Something similar happened in another store with the gem of "These sell too fast and we had to restock them all the time so we don't carry them any more" and in another shop, the nice clerk was a bit apologetic and gave me the model numbers and told me to order them from the international website of the shoe company. At the Högl boutique in Prague, I said I want this in 42, the clerk looked at me via her nostrils and said This is made only up to 40, with the unspoken Go away, you poor scum.
Meanwhile in Austria... I wanted those Högl shoes. I went to, found out that the model in question is made up to 42, messaged my Vienna friend explaining that I absolutely need those shoes, can she do something about that. Said friend went to a Högl shop, said I want this in 42 for a friend, they said We don't have them in this shop but leave your phone number, please, we'll ask around. Someone checked around, they found out that not a whole heap of 42s in this model was made but there are some left, got a pair delivered from someplace like Salzburg boutique, called my dear Anna that the requested shoes are ready to pick. And that it would be better if I came to the shop to try them in person because even if I wear Högl shoes regularly, it's always advisable. Well, when I came to Vienna, my feet got so swollen that I could barely fit into my worn sandals.
Meantime, my dressmaker gave me the phone number of her shoemaker. I brought him the worn-to-death Marc Jacobs flats I kept at the bottom of the closet for the remote chance I would ever find an affordable shoemaker and said This fits great over my heels, make ones like that in black, thankyouverymuch. Some time later, I got lovely black flats that did scrape the skin off my heels but not any worse than anything off the shelf and the shoemaker promised to work on it. I'm saved. Also, I'll get green and burgundy Marc Jacobs lookalikes that fit better. And many more, because now I can go and get shoes instead of damn shopping for them.
Fashion spreads sometime later.

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