Miz Shoes

Turn and Face the Change

R.I.P. David Bowie. When I heard the news, I was instantly transported back to autumn of 1972, when "Changes" played in heavy, yet always welcome, rotation on WVUM, the voice of the University of Miami, and WVUM played in the lobby of my dorm, and I wasn't a lobby rat, but I did spend a number of hours perched in the stairwell, drawing those who were. I met my friend Billy there in the '68 Building. The autumn of 1972 was when I left my home town for good and swore never to return, for reasons that were many and valid.

I've been back in my childhood home for almost a year, so I suppose it is fitting that I was remembering what it was like when I left, and considering "Changes" when I had the following encounter this morning.

A new face is telling me that she is a neighbor, and lives a street over on the river, or near to. I say that's nice. She tells me that the person she bought from was Mitt Romney's wife, Anne's, brother, a Mormon. I say that's nice. She tells me that he is actually a crook. I say that's nice, and not unexpected, really, although I say the latter phrase only in my head, I am sure. Yes, she tells me, he is a crook. When we bought the house, he Jewed us out of $7000 dollars.

Stop, I say. Did you really just say that? Oh yes, she repeats, I did. He Jewed us... Stop, I interrupt. Really? You are using those words? Yes, she tells me with a shrug, I'm from Philadelphia, and... And I'm Jewish, I rudely interrupt again. So, good day to you. And with that, I turned and walked back into my home, and locked the door behind me.

Miz Shoes

People

The following is a letter I wrote to Sirius XM and the Underground Garage. "Last night I was listening to the Underground Garage channel on SiriusXM. It's my favorite. Chris Carter's British Invasion was on and he made some disparaging comments about Barbra Streisand being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He began by saying that the award had been won previously by military men, and that giving it to Ms. Streisand was an insult. While it has been awarded to members of the military, it is primarily a civilian award. Indeed, it is the highest civilian award given by the United States.

From wikipedia: The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with the comparable Congressional Gold Medal, bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award of the United States. It recognizes those individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". The award is not limited to U.S. citizens and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.

But that is neither here nor there to my letter. What offended me was not his objection to her being given the medal, but that his dismissal of her was an off-hand misogyny based upon her perceived fuckability or lack thereof. His exact comment was that the only thing she had ever done for freedom was inspire the invention of the burqua. Harsh, and also the sort of insult that I would expect from the likes of Don Imus or Howard Stern, but certainly never by a person broadcasting under the imprimatur of Little Steven. All the more ironic was that it came mere moments after the Coolest Song in the World, "Girl Band" by the Dahlmanns.

Well, this is a free country, you say, and I am free to turn the show off. I did. Then I took the time to write this letter, and to post an essay on my blog about careless misogyny, and to link to it from Facebook. Maybe a dozen people will read it, but that isn't the point, either. The point is that I expect better from the Little Steven brand."

Careless misogyny. The unspoken acceptance that anybody can be reduced in worth to whether or not they inspire desire or mere lust in a viewer. Well, anybody female, that is.

Last week I almost allowed myself to get into an on-line pissing match over "Baby, It's Cold Outside". I referred to it as our collective Christmas rape anthem, and was soundly disabused of that belief by a post-modern feminist who assured me that she is in fact a historian and I am in fact mistakenly reading too much into one line (Hey, what's in this drink). Clearly, she said, the woman is saying no, but she really wants to stay. She is using all sorts of excuses, but they are all based what others might think of her, and not what she herself wants, and so she is using alcohol as an excuse to remain overnight. It's a song about plausible deniability, not about really saying no.

Um, and OK, but in my dottage, I seem to remember that no means no, and it doesn't matter what reason one gives for saying it. If you say no -- to anything-- does that mean that any person who thinks you should say yes is more in tune with your mind and can force you to, say, take cream in your tea? Or maybe you would like to have a little white sugar in your coffee. Is it the right of someone else to tell you that you really don't want that? And to prevent you by force, if need be, from getting it?

Is it not the same thing? Self-determination is self-determination. I chose not to continue the fight with my feminist historian because a stupid song is not worth getting exercised over. But I see a thread here, and I have to tug at it. It's OK to dismiss someone for not being pretty. It's OK to sing a song about forcing someone to stay the night because the imaginary girl really wants it. It's OK to shoot up a Planned Parenthood clinic because those people shouldn't be there, shouldn't be pregnant, shouldn't be poor, shouldn't be doing something a white man with a gun thinks they shouldn't be doing.

What was it someone said: evil is not just the actions of the few, but the silence of the many.

The other morning, as Miz Shoes attempted to park in the station garage, she was forced to wait while the driver in front of her maneuvered a full-sized van into a space clearly marked “compact only”. A space, incidentally, which Miz Shoes considers to be her own spot, as it is bordered on the driver’s side by a wall, and the people who park on the passenger side spot always go over the line, making this a parking spot almost too narrow for even her Smart Car.

But there was the van, and the driver was adjusting his angle of approach by microns as he backed in and out wedging his behemoth into this tiny slice of asphalt. How he got out of his vehicle is a mystery, since there would not have been room to even crack the door open, much less allow for the passage of an adult human body.

Which brought us to the point of quantum physics, as Miz Shoes pondered the question: in which universe would a full-sized passenger van be considered a compact car? And how does that universe end up intersecting our own at the point of this particular tiny parking spot?

And while we are on the topic of parking spaces, why do motorcyclists insist on parking in car spots, while leaving those designated for motorcycles empty, and why are THEY not ticketed when leaving the Smart in a motorcycle space (into which it fits admirably) WILL generate a parking violation?

Miz Shoes

Hey You! Get Offa My Cloud

Or, you know, my bandwidth. The RLA and I have been having excruciatingly slow download times at the Casita de Zapatos, and when researched, turns out to be poachers on our unlocked wi-fi network. This blows for me, because I hate passwords that are impossible to remember. But there it is. Intruders in the virtual house.

Miz Shoes

Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong

Right up front, I’ll say that this wasn’t my finest moment, OK? But here’s the thing, I don’t get manicures because I work with my hands. I very, very rarely get pedicures, because they are an expensive indulgence. But Friday last, I had a lunch-time appointment to get my toes done. I took my wallet and my i-pod, loaded up with the Easy Stars All Stars Dub Side of the Moon, and prepared to go to my happy place.

When I got to the salon, it was full. They put me in a chair, and there were women on either side of me, in the middle of their treatments. There was another woman just finishing her manicure, and yet another in the wings. The woman to my right was on her cell phone, chatting about what time the sun set for lighting the shabbos candles. The woman on my left was chatting on her cell phone about nothing in particular, in Spanish. I apologized to the manager, who was about to start on my feet, saying that I hoped she wouldn’t mind if I just zoned out with the earbuds. Not at all. Ahhhhhh. Happy place.

And then. And then, a large, unpleasant woman came in through the front door and started demanding her manicure. And complaining that there wasn’t an open chair, when she had an appointment. And demanding to know who the manager was, and why did this salon make appointments if they weren’t planning on keeping them. And demanding service. RIGHT. NOW. And I could hear every word, through my headphones. And the tension in the shoulders of the three woman working on the three customers was visible and growing more so. The tension among the clients was palpable. Dammit, Beavis, this is unacceptable. So I took out the earbuds, and put on the carrying teacher voice, and said, as avuncularly as I could manage, “Madam. Please. They will get to you. Please stop. Take it outside. You are, to use the vernacular, harshing my buzz.” And I smiled.

It was like throwing gasoline on a fire. She exploded and started to yell at me. “Oh, I think you probably already have quite a buzz on. Why don’t you go back to Coconut Grove among your own kind.” I blinked. I thought of any number of replies, beginning with, what decade are you living in, honey, the Grove hasn’t been the Grove since the early 70s, through my kind? Spawn of yuppie scum spending mummy and daddy’s money? to the short and to the point, which is what I said… still in the teacher voice. “Hmmm. Yeah. Right. FUCK. YOU!!!” Like I said, not my finest moment.

Well, with that, the fat, unpleasant woman said that judging by my vocabulary, perhaps I should take myself back to Liberty City. Liberty City is the inner city, the hood, the 99% black, poverty-riddled heart of Miami. Oh, no, she di’n't. Oh, yes, she did. So I said, “Hmmm. Yeah. Right. Not only are you rude and impatient, you are also intolerant and a racist.” And with that, the woman on my right joined me in making fun of the fat, impatient, rude pig-woman. In normal voices, and as though she weren’t standing 10 feet away, we began to discuss what an unhappy creature she was, whether or not she should expect any sort of manicure after her behavior, and whether or not she was aware of how horrible she was.

Fat, unhappy, unpleasant and impolite, the pig-woman was still standing at the counter when I left with the best pedicure I’ve gotten in years.

Miz Shoes

New York Telephone Conversation

It was one of those days for me on the train. The morning commute included a pair of women putting on their makeup in tandem across the aisle from me. The one was a little embarrassed and a little bit happy to be photographed while doing it and the other was totally oblivious. They both saw me shooting and just didn’t care. I didn’t get the money shot which was of the lady on the left circling her eye with liquid concealer, like some sort of inverse panda.

dueling compacts

This was followed by this, which while ample, resembled more an apple pancake. Not all round and juicy as the name would have you believe.

ample bottom jeans

Both of which pale compared to the ride home. The Person Dressed In Black and I were seated next to some grumbling old gomer who was discoursing (loudly of course, it is always loudly) about his day in court. No. Literally. He was all on about what the judge said and what his attorney said and what the other guy said and whether or not there was an acceptable offer on the table and why should he take less than the previous offer and even the judge said that and he was customer service employee of the year/quarter for ages running and and and. And of course I, of the delicate sensibilities kept shooting him the stink eye and he kept ignoring me. Such is life.

As we got to the end of the trip, a man of an uncertain age pulled a sheet out of a sketchbook and handed it to the PDB and me. It was a little gesture drawing of the two of us, and while not an exact likeness, you might have been able to pick us out of a line-up.

street portrait in which my torso and hip get noticed

I’ve seen worse police sketches. We were charmed and a little unsure of what this implied or entailed. But we laughed and said of all the people on the train to draw, we were both artists and had both gone to art school. The artist-in-residence wasn’t sure if we were putting him on, and the PDB said, no, both of us held BFAs. The gnarly old gomer (who was now off the phone) piped up and said that if the artist had told us he was a chef, that we would have told him we went to chef school. That’s when the PDB offered that she had, in fact, attended Parson’s in New York City, and I had to mumble University of Miami (damn my portfolio for not getting into Rhode Island School of Design and my young self for having had too much fun at UM to consider a transfer).

Well, the Artist-in-Residence said he’d like $4 per face, and the PDB and I looked at each other and said, Uh, no, but thanks. I offered the drawing back. He told me to keep it. The train stopped, we wished one another well and deboarded. As we were going down the stairs, I saw that I was still next to the loud gomer, and said, and exactly where do you get off questioning my honesty? And he said it was easy, because I was a pain in the ass. What? Yeah, you kept staring at me while I was on the phone, like I was talking too loud. Well, I said, you were. No, he yelled, he was not, and by the way, he added, you (meaning your narrator) are cheap, lady. You should have at least given that guy a dollar.

That stung. I’m not cheap. But, dude. I didn’t ask for my portrait to be scribbled by a stranger on the train, and I offered it back to him if he thought it was worth money or saving for a retrospective of his street work. I am a BFA, I am still a working artist. And mostly, I did not need or want to hear all about your law suit. So, I may very well be a pain in the ass, but not because of the reasons you stated.

Miz Shoes

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Yesterday, on the ride home, a well-dressed young woman sat on the opposite bench on the train. She put her large, fashionable bag and her trendy trench coat on the seat beside her. Then she spread a couple of paper napkins on her lap and opened the little cardboard box which contained her dinner, a slice of pizza. She ate it delicately, wiped her lips and tucked the box under her seat. She made a few calls on her cell phone. At South Miami, she collected her bag and coat and prepared to exit the train.

“Don’t forget your garbage,” I chirped, loudly. “There’s a can right on the platform.” She smiled at me with just a touch of condescension and shame, and picked up her trash. Whether she actually put it in the can or just tossed it on the platform seating, I couldn’t see.

AND ANOTHER THING

Look, if you want to call me names, and tell me my blog is stupid, you have every right. I, of course, as proprietor of the site, have the right to delete any such crap. If you want me, in all fairness, to leave your comments up, then try using a real e-mail address and a real or even imaginary name, but not a jumble of letters. Another tip? Use correct spelling and grammar, and try to be a little bit brighter than a refrigerator bulb in your insults.

Miz Shoes

What Day Is It?

My personal (albeit brand new) National Holiday. This does not replace my other personal national holiday, Bob Dylan’s birthday.

Miz Shoes

I Love a Meme

This one, at any rate.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Imperial Majesty Miz Shoes the Brobdingnagian of Bampton Underhoop
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Of course it is.

Miz Shoes

Feed The Birds, Tuppence a Bag

There has been a flurry of e-mail the past couple of weeks as a certain “this is not a fake, click on this button and donate to charity” chain letter makes the rounds. The thing is, it isn’t fake, and even though I think I’ll remember to click and donate dog food to shelters, I don’t remember. So.

Over there on the right, in the endless blog roll, just above the Daily Puppy (aww) and the Daily Kitten (double aww) I have added, for your and my convenience, a Daily Click. Click and choose which or all of the charities on that page you wish to support. There’s animals, children, breast cancer, literacy. You name it, there’s a tab for it. And there is shopping for charity, about which one can feel so morally smug.

It’s a win-win all the way around.

Miz Shoes

Buckets of Rain

We’re in day two of a soaking, steady rain here in South Florida. This is rain of biblical proportions. This is rain measured in inches to feet. This is rain that isn’t going away. This is monsoon season rain. It’s beautiful, actually.

The problem with it, though, is that it makes South Florida drivers forget what precious little they know about driving. This means that you find folks driving with their flashers on, driving in the middle of two lanes to take advantage of the dry spot, speeding on bald tires and then hydroplaning into the nearest tree or car or house, or simply driving at about 10 miles an hour, just in case. I had my teeth cleaned this morning, and my appointment was at nine. It took me more than 15 minutes to cross Dixie Highway and drive two blocks. Part of that was because I couldn’t turn left out of my street: the cars were backed up beyond my horizon. So I turned right, then went south to the next cross street, then couldn’t turn north on Dixie Highway because it was a parking lot, so crossed to the first northbound back road, and from there arrived (finally) at my destination. I was 20 minutes late, but it didn’t matter because the dental hygienist was even later.

Now my teeth are all shiny and clean and I’m torn. On the one hand, I want lunch. Since it’s raining and cool and damp, I want the universal comfort food for rainy, damp weather: a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of tomato soup. On the other hand, my teeth are all shiny and clean and I don’t want to eat at all, because I want them to stay feeling this slick.

Having masterfully steered this entry to lunch, allow me to remind you readers that today is “Take Bob to Lunch Day” or, as I like to call it, “FREE THE BOB DAY.” Let me refresh your memories about Bob.

Bob is a small Italian greyhound currently housed in a strip mall “pet store” in California. Bob lives in the window, sharing the hot, tiny space with a chihuahua with gummy eyes. Bob has developed callouses from the sawdust that lines his window, and a sore on his neck from the plastic price tag/collar he wears. Bob is so pathetic at this point that he’s been marked down—twice. Often, Bob is seen to have no food or water. But that is going to change, with our help.

Jules (of Dirty Feet and Lily White Intentions) has negotiated Bob’s release price, but she’s still a little short of the ante. That’s where we come in. Take a look at Bob here. Or here. And read about him

here. And here. And here. And donate your lunch money (just for today, whether you put 2 bucks in the vending machine outside the ladies’ room, or do two glasses of chardonnay with a Cobb salad and your lady friends, or (in my case, I brown-bagged it today, but a normal lunch in the Miami Downtown area runs $7.87 and I rounded up).

Help Jules liberate Bob. (Not his real name, at least not until Jules gets him home, bathed, petted, fed, loved, petted, a nice collar, a soft doggie bed and a chew toy or two.) I tried to link to Bob’s donation page, but couldn’t. So follow one of the links above, and give generously to someone who is opening her heart and home to a doggie in need.

Miz Shoes

The Return of Oriental Payne

Let me first set the record straight, and say right out, I am not a cutter. I do not find pain (mine or anyone else’s*) enjoyable. However, I tend to be just a wee clumsy, and especially when I’m depressed.

Many years ago this tendency was spotted by a boyfriend, who commented that I didn’t just hurt myself, I hurt myself in complicated and very torturous ways, like some kind of exotic, oriental pain. That immediately became my club name: Oriental Payne.

So. Last week, after a brilliant morning (I found the very first spot in the parking garage open, and I met a new person on the train—an Apple-carrying, clog-wearing film person) and an ok work day, I trotted out of the building, aware, as always since last year’s Valentine’s Day tumble down the stairs, of where my feet were as I went down those steps. The light on Biscayne Boulevard turned red as I reached the curb, and so I took off across the street without breaking stride.

I saw the red car in the first lane. I saw the blonde boy with light eyes and no helmet on a yellow sport motorcycle in the second lane. I don’t know who or what was in the next lane, because I stepped out of my very high, very fabulous brown mule and went ass over tea kettle and did a magnificent face-plant in the middle of the third lane.

Thankfully, nobody ran the red light.

My glasses went flying. My book bag went flying. My titanium Mac in its chic little Vera Bradley bag went flying. My shoes, ditto.

I have a road rash on my left leg that extends from mid-calf to knee. The knee is completely skinned - flayed, even. The bruises are impressive and keep traveling around (yesterday a new one appeared below my ankle and wrapping around under my instep).

The right knee turned purple immediately and swelled to the size of a pie pumpkin. It is now green, with interesting purple undertones, and the right leg is also host to travelling bruises.

The only person to even acknowlege me sprawled across two lanes of traffic was a man on the far curb, who called out as I was gathering up my possessions and my wits “You OK there?” He did not, nor did anyone else, offer to help me.

*OK, I admit, there are a couple of people in whose pain I would take pleasure. My ex, for one. My ex-bosses, for two, three and four. And, you know, a few Neo-cons and a POTUS or two. But really and for the most part, no.

 

Miz Shoes

Unclear on the Concept

I blame this on Starbucks and the fashion industry which have skewed our understanding of size standards. What was once a small is now a tall. What was once normal is now plus sized.

compact.jpg

Miz Shoes

You Got A Lot of Nerve

An astute new (and presumably very young) reader accosted me in my comments this morning with the following question, which I quote in its entirety, and exactly as she typed it (in all caps, shouting at me first thing in the morning… sigh)

“WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO JUDGE PEOPLE ...SO WHAT IF THEY WANT TO HANG THEIR BACKPACKS ON THEIR CHEST…ECT ECT.”

First of all, sweetiedarling, the correct abbreviation for which you are searching, is ETC, as in etcetera. Not ecksettra, or however you are pronouncing it in your head.

Secondly, what gives me the right to judge people is this: I am the self-appointed arbiter of taste for the universe and it would be a much more attractive place if people would just take my advice.

Thirdly, what gives me the right to be arbiter of taste for the universe is that I have exquisite taste, and if I ever did make a fashion mistake, there is no film hanging around to prove it.

Finally, regarding your final statement, the one in which you opine about the frequency of my sex life versus the number of pairs of shoes you own… what, exactly, was the point you were attempting to make? I came of age in the 70s, child, and I’ve been married to the Hottie Renowned Local Artist for 15 years, so I hope you have a spare room or two to house all those pairs of shoes you claim to own. And I hope you keep them all polished, stored neatly in boxes, with tissue stuffed in the toes to keep their shape. I also hope that you make sure the heels are always in good repair.

 

 

Miz Shoes

You Are So Beautiful

It is a fact that loonies are drawn to me like moths to a flame, and like a flame, I can burn them to a crisp. I usually don’t because even loonies deserve, uh… ok, I usually do flame them, but not always. Yesterday, in fact…

I was sitting on the bench at the MetroRail station, twiddling with my earphones and minding my own business as I waited for the south-bound to take me home. There were women on either side of me. I was wearing a very conservative denim dress, almost ankle-length, long-sleeved and with a deep, but modest v-neck. And a pair of killer, spike-heeled, pointy-toed mules.

Along came a spider loonie, dressed in camo and a tee, with spiked hair with bleached tips. He could have been anywhere from 18 to 25, a little hard-ridden, possibly homeless. He had that look in his eyes, of not being quite all together (but then, who among us is?) I kept my head down and twiddled with my earphones.

He came right up in front of me, dropped into a squat, and very, very gently, like the merest hint of a thought of a touch, caressed my instep. To get my attention or because he’s got some weird foot thing, who knows. I looked up and he very clearly said “You are so beautiful.” Uh-huh, right and old enough to be your mother, I think, and no, I’m not giving you money. I just look at him and pretend I can’t understand or hear. He repeats it and then asked me if I was married. “Yes, very” I replied, and looked back at my lap. Then he got up, looked back at me, told me one more time that he thought I was so beautiful. I touched my fingertips to my heart and said thanks, and then disappeared back into myself and he wandered off into the crowd.

The women on my left just stared at me with saucer-like eyes, and tried to engage me in conversation about what had happened, but by then, I had cranked up the i-pod as loud as I could handle it, and the train was coming and I escaped another conversation.

Once on the train, I spotted RJ in the same car, so I went up to tell her the story, but she was embedded in her own version of the loonie conversation. The woman with her was a Seinfeld-worthy low talker, and carried on a monologue at us for the entire trip, allowing nothing more than an uh-huh or a nod from us. I have no idea what she was on about, because I couldn’t hear a word. RJ kept rolling her eyes at me and wagging her eyebrows, so it must have been deadly.

...

Monday, as I mentioned, I went to hear Christopher Moore. The audience was slow to warm to him, and then a cell phone rang, and he made a joke about the only thing cell phones are useful for is to train dogs to salivate. The only people in the crowd to laugh were me, the RLA, and the couple in front of us. The female (with a beautiful set of tattooed angel wings on her back—or at least the tops and tips that I could see were beautiful) joked that the only dog owners in the room were the four of us who laughed. Then Christopher said that, well, he was sorry and that he hadn’t meant to speak in a foreign language. To which I sang out, “Yeah. Well, you are speaking English.” and that broke up the entire room. Take me with you Chris, and I’ll do warm up.

...

Finally, will someone explain to me why a white trash, ex-Playboy skank deserves all this ink over the fold, and the report that the pre-war intelligence was cooked, immoral, but probably not illegal gets buried? I’m trying to figure out some way to blame her death (and the increasingly suspicious deaths of everyone connected to her) on the Bush family, a la Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys. Maybe it was Jeb, he’s not doing anything much these days, and she was in Florida.

 

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