…she sells shoes by the shoe-shell shore?

Working two (two and a half? three?) jobs this summer was a rough. But I managed. For the most part. =)

My morning routine is (and has been for years) something not unlike this: I wake up (generally a half hour later than I intended) and shower. Then,I procrastinate until the exact moment I need to be walking out the door, before panicing, collecting my wits and necessary items for the day, and flying out the door, all aflutter, as it were– typically five, ten minutes late. Often my procrastination phase is quite short– a few minutes at most– as, often, I’m stepping out of the shower at the same moment I need to be stepping out my door for a timely arrival. On the rare occasion that I do have extra time, I typically fare no better– I eat breakfast, check email, play guitar or count the hairs on my arm until, yes, the very moment that I need to leave the house. Then I panic.

Like evacuating one’s home in a fire, I always have an approximate idea of what I need to grab on my way out the door. Most items make it through the door; some items make it half-way to the door; some items are left unmoved altogether.

Most days, anyway.

I recall, with mixed fondness and embarrassment, a particular moment from last summer. I was working for a contractor, doing general landscaping. Work started at 8:00 and I, as usual, was running late. Living out where I do, it takes a while to drive to work– twenty minutes or so, on average.

I might note (at this point) that I have a certain habit of only stepping into my shoes on my way out, tying my laces later on straight roads or at red lights. If I’m especially late, I might not even step into my shoes at all– grabbing shoes and socks on my way out the door, barefoot, instead.

Well, it was one such morning. On a straight road, nearing the office, I pulled on my socks–left, then right– and then had a moment of panic. My shoes! Where are they? Are they in the back? … No. Hmm. Oh, good heavens. I left my shoes at home!

Needless to say, it was a somewhat embarrassing phone call to the office. “Hey Charlie. This is Mark. Yeah… I’m going to be twenty, thirty minutes late today. Oh.. why, you ask? Well, you see, I left in a big hurry this morning and I … mumble mumble forgot my shoes at home mumble mumble.”

Well, that was last summer. Old habits die hard. This summer was, again, the same morning routine. Complicating the matter, though, was multiplicity of jobs and their varying uniform requirements. Which is to say that I had two jobs. And for Papa Johns I needed a uniform: close-toed shoes, khaki pants, my Papa Johns shirt, and my Papa Johns hat. The shirt and pants were easy. It’s always the details (like shoes) that catch ya. Fortunately, there were extra hats I could borrow if and when I forgot my beloved hat at home.

Tucked away in a dorm-room drawer are no fewer than six pairs of K-Mart socks. It’s not that I prefer K-Mart socks, but rather, let me explain:

Often, I would wear jeans to B&B and throw a pair of khaki shorts in my car in the morning. Everything would be fine, until I arrived at Papa Johns, that is, and realized that, having changed into shorts, my socks quite visibly came half-way up my leg– an effect that, coupled with a poorly fitted hat and funky Papa Johns polo-shirt, could only mean poor tips.

Actually, I tried the knee-highs one night. The only tips I got were … fashion tips.

That’s a joke.

Anyhow. K-Mart, as it happens, was the closest department store (excluding Wal-Mart). So, well, now I know. Walk straight in and half-way back. Turn left. Two isles down: that’s where you find the socks. Low-profile socks, to be exact. I hate to say, but I once visited K-Mart three times in a week. For socks.

Eventually, though, I embraced my inner hippie and began wearing flip-flops to B&B. And yes, it was glorious. As long as I remembered to pack extra socks.

But man, I sure did feel ridiculous when, one afternoon, I showed up at Papa Johns, pulled on my socks, and realized my shoes were waiting for me by the door– at home.

About Mark Egge

Two truths and a lie: Mark Egge is an outdoor enthusiast, opera singer, and a transportation data scientist. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.
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