This morning at 8:30 AM, four intrepid souls set out from the parking lot of Emmanuel Baptist Church.
- Christian Smith – elder statesman and Starbucks addict
- Eric Abisror – extrovert extraordinaire and tour guide
- Caleb Brown – wide-eyed “newbie” and pizza vacuum
- John Moody – your humble narrator and uber-geek
Our destination: Chicago, Illinois, for the 2011 Gospel Coalition (TGC) conference.
Thanks to the amazing driving skills of Jim Brown, we made it safely to SeaTac Airport, where Caleb took one flight and Christian, Eric and I took another, and four hours later (or six, if you factor in the miracle of time zones), we reunited at O’Hare Airport in not-so-sunny Chicago.
Then it was off to the hotel to check in, then dinner. Eric took us to Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza, whereupon we feasted upon approximately 2.3 metric tons of deep-dish pizza:
After finishing our dinner at about 9 PM (and stopping by a Starbucks because Christian made us) we went for a walkabout of downtown Chicago. And that’s where we met Tony.
Tony had a mission in life: to shine shoes. And Tony was not going to be hampered by the fact that it was 9 PM at night, or that we were obviously not looking for footwear enhancement services, or for that matter, anything at all. In about 3.7 picoseconds, Tony had assessed the shoes of our group, and determined that of the four of us, I was the one who needed his love, attention, and shoe-shining services this fine evening.
“Hey, you know what you need for those shoes?”
“No thanks.” Keep walking. Maybe he’ll go away, I think.
But I, apparently, am a fool. Tony is not to be deterred so easily!
“I’m Tony. Your shoes just need a good shine.” He pulls a bottle of something out of his little shoe-shine bag-o-tricks, and aims it at my shoe. This is not going to end well, I realize.
“Seriously, no thanks, man.” I start to turn to walk away, but Tony is too fast for me. Tan colored goo is squirted onto my shoe. And at this point, I am at his mercy. He is going to shine my shoe, and then he is going to ask for money. I resolve then and there that no money will flow from me to Tony this night. If he gets mad, there are four of us, and only one of him. Plus, I hear that Christian knows kung fu. (Or is that Hebrew?)
Tony begins to scrub/buff the puddle of goo on my left shoe in, cajoling me for letting my loafers get into such a pitiable condition that he was forced to stop me on the street and correct the matter before the Shoe Mafia decide to deal with my disrespect for all things shoe.
And, then my salvation appears. A police car pulls up to the curb, and the officer in the driver seat begins to have a conversation with Tony. It appears that they are old friends. (I didn’t get to see the state of the officer’s footwear.)
I look down at my shoe. The goo has been brushed in enough that I can walk around like a respectable person. (Or, at least the left side of me can – the right side is still sadly unbuffed.) I turn and walk, and my traveling companions laugh at my misfortune as we head back to the hotel, ready for the conference to begin in the morning.
I think they’re jealous of my left shoe.
April 12 2011 03:58 am | Uncategorized