In response to the Brian Kitely exercise on Deja vu (see the 3am Epiphany): “Write a sketch of a scene in which a character has an experience that causes her to recall a startlingly similar past experience. Juxtapose the two scenes, the present one and the past one, on top of each other, writing, for instance, two or three sentences of the present moment, then alternating back and forth between present and past that way. Show the reader the remembered scene by use of italics…”
There is usually nowhere to sit down to take your shoes off when a pair on a shelf catches your eye as you go by.
The foot measurer would be cold and very large and not only mechanical but somewhat medical, surgical.
You go in, you take the pair off the shelf, you look around for helpful furniture, assistance.
There was no buying a new pair of school shoes without this device, and it wasn’t just about not having squashed big toes, it was also about width and arch height.
A scan all round shows there is no help to be found from human or structure.
A great deal of measurements to calibrate, computate and frown over and much discussion to be had with your mother about how your feet – sunburnt, blistered – revealed your character.
So – unwilling to let desire slip away – you hop on one foot, you slide off the other shoe, you chuck bag, parcels on the ground, you hop on the other foot, you slide off another shoe (and if you’re lucky it comes easily), then on the first foot getting on the new shoe, then on the other.
There was furniture for the purpose, box-like seating arrangements with slopey fronts so that your short legs would end on the floor at the exact angle for the foot measurer.
And then you wander around looking for a mirror while keeping the eyes in the back of your head on your discarded parcels.
And then the mirrors, angled so that the shoe was shown off to the eye height, just so.
The lure of the shoe is such that even though the architecture of the shop is so unhelpful, you repeat the process in the reverse sense ending with picking up all the parcels now scattered over quite a wide area and staggering to the counter to pay.
Unfortunately the only shoes ever given this really serious treatment were black and shiny and thick-soled and entirely undesirable. I never did buy a pair of shoes I fell in love with this way.