I love getting my shoes shined. It’s almost like getting a foot massage, and what kind of fool would say no to that? The shoeshine stand I go to is a very elaborate structure located outside the Hyatt at the foot of Market Street looking up the immensely steep hill that is California Street rising into Nob Hill. Recently I was griping about the weather here being chilly (for San Francisco) but today was delectable, cool and sunny, just the kind of weather to make sitting on a shoeshine stand watching the tourists bump by so appealing.

Famous Wayne, the shoe shiner, dresses like a mild-mannered middle aged man who has decided to take up being a pimp, but hasn’t gotten the finer points of the costume down just yet. I like him, but occasionally his attempts at small talk include bizarre sentences that seem to be random strings of words. “Doorknob jab, bluely extreme sweet say. Elevator?” I never want to ask him to repeat himself because what if I heard him correctly the first time? Would I want it confirmed that that was what he had said? Instead I reply with a firm “I guess there’s just no telling,” and Wayne goes back to polishing and I stare off at the cable cars coming down the hill and wonder about doorknob jabs.

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