I need new shoes because my old shoes squelch miserably whenever it's wet and tomorrow is going to rain buckets and I have to be out seeing a specialist. So yesterday afternoon, when I had no appointments and hurray first time this week no afternoon shifts, I went to the Walking Clinic, which everyone thinks of as the Walk-in Clinic and that they can just wander in and see a foot doctor. No. But I can usually wander in and buy shoes there.
Not yesterday, though, because there was only one harried receptionist who said she couldn't measure my feet I'd have to make an appointment with (name redacted) who was the only one who could measure my feet and she only had a 9 am slot Thursday morning. 'But I just want a new pair of the shoes I'm wearing' (that I bought here in '10 to replace the ones I bought here in '05.) 'Oh fine, let me see the size--' which was illegible. 'It should be on your chart'-- but it wasn't. Nothing but last summer's sandals is on my chart. 'You'll have to come see (name redacted) or I'll just be pulling out shoes that don't fit you.' Yeah well fine. Always had my doubts about that place, because all the staff are perky young females who lose interest in you once they've sold you pricey orthotics. It's a chain, and I bet it has a male boss who only hires perky young females. Went and had a Big Mac in a fit of spleen: first one in at least five years and possibly ten, which made me feel no better than you'd expect it to, though Macdo's fries are indeed quite tasty.
So to bed at 11, and can't sleep. Can't sleep, can't sleep. Get up and read my new Buddhism book by a woman who's awfully Baptist for a Tibetan Buddhist. 'Bad friends are not bad in themselves but they're bad for you. They want you to come watch television or go out drinking or dancing or listening to music, and so you find yourself watching television or drinking or dancing or listening to music instead of contemplating the Dharma. It's much better to make Dharma friends with whom you can discuss the Dharma, and the best friends you can make are in a monastic situation where you're all working on understanding the Dharma together, and you have access to your teacher's teachings and Dharma lectures and the example of their perfect enlightenment. Because you can't understand the Dharma just reading books alone or listening to taped lectures, you must listen to the actual words of an enlightened teacher-' like me, I keep hearing in subtext- 'in a monastery'- like mine, I keep hearing in subtext. Give me Pema Chodron any day, who happily admits she'll be meditating on perfect charity one minute and then snapping at the person who comes and interrupts her meditation on perfect charity the next. That's the way human beings work. Any cradle Catholic knows that convents and monasteries are not all sweetness and amiability and Christian concord: far from it. I doubt the Buddhists are any different: and indeed, most western writers are quite upfront about how their dharma brethren get on their nerves.
Eventually I got tired of this and fell asleep at 3. Woke at 7 to pee. Knew if I went back to bed I'd sleep till 10, so stayed up and at 9 made my bleary way to the Walking Clinic, where (name redacted) was indeed there. Surly, unhelpful, brought out boxes and watched in silence while I prised my orthotics out of one set of shoes and shoved them into another and tried them on-- no 'how does that feel?' or 'is that wide enough?' I suggested we try men's shoes, she got a pair of men's 9s which is women's 10 and a half; and since those finally didn't pinch, I took them. Of course five minutes later they began to rub on my bunions and pinch across the top of the foot.
So I bicycle back up to my home level and take my old unlovely comfortable shoes into the cobbler to see if he can indeed fix the heels. Not totally brainfried, I ask if he has something to stretch the new shoes. 'I do, but it depends on the kind of shoes.' I indicate the ones on my feet. 'My advice to you is to boil a kettle of water and hold them over the steam- carefully, don't burn yourself- and then wear them around for a bit.' 'Steam them inside or out?' 'Inside. Just don't bother wearing your shoes out with chemicals.' There. Competence, expertise, and the willingness to forego a buck in service to professionalism. That's what one wants.
And then biking home I found a twenty dollar bill on the street. My Catholic/ Japanese sensibilities said 'whoever that belongs to it isn't you; leave it there'; but bloody-mindedness said 'a bill in the middle of the street is going to be picked up by someone, and for once it might as well be me.' So I took it, and used it to pay for my missed acupuncture appointment last Saturday. So all's more or less well that ends well.
Have not steamed shoes yet. Changed socks and suddenly shoes were too big.