Old joke

A visit again to Jz, who seemed in better shape than last time.

I had come straight from work and was going out later, and so had my suit (well, one of my two suits) on. I doubt if Jz had ever seen me so well-dressed. Jz’s response to my appearance was a testament to the transforming power of respectable clothing. Jz asked me to sit close to the bed and put my feet up.

Jz was interested in my shoes (which I had taken off).

The shoes in question have passed the point where they are worth repairing: there is a crack on one which will show a sliver of sock unless my socks are black; the heels are down to the wood (dangerous on wet days); just that day I had noticed the left toe parting company from the sole as a previous supaglue fix lost its adhesion.

I have found it difficult to find a suitable replacement pair. Like so many other things these days, most shoes in the shops and certainly most cheap shoes come from China. Any shoe I like the look and price of turns out to be too narrow and shallow and rather flimsily made.

I mentioned to Jz that I’d bought these particular shoes 7 or 8 years ago in Madrid.

“Of course,” Jz said, “one always buys one’s shoes in Madrid.”

In case the tone isn’t evident in writing, that was a gentle joke, and I knew an older one to match. I said:

“All my laundry’s flown to Cairo.”

Jz speaks rather slowly now, but hardly broke rhythm supplying the next line:

“Where they don’t use so much starch.”

It was a heartwarming moment. Sometimes the old jokes are the best.

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