Saturday, October 2, 2021 – The Monocle Minute
I bought a pair of shoes. I wore them all day, but they felt strange; they didn’t quite fit as I’d hoped. When I took them off that evening, the problem became obvious: they were of different sizes. The shop apologized and gave me a new pair and as a bonus told me to keep the others. Nice. But now I had a spare shoe for my right foot and a larger spare shoe for my left foot, which would only be of use if I got gout or swelling on my feet, or if I wanted to go to clown school.
Here’s one of those moments when you see you and your partner approach life in strangely different ways. When I put the shoes in the trash can, he said with a strange confidence, “You will regret that. I guarantee you that one day you will wish you had this. ”Now the other half (not least of all by me) are called many things, but“ The Grand Seer of Bloomsbury ”is not one of them to my knowledge. “Explain, please,” I said.
“I bet you lose a shoe and wish you had the reserves,” he said. He can be a wise owl, and believe me, I lose a lot of things. But so far I have never noticed after waking up that a pair of shoes has separated from me on the way home. The shoes ended up in the bin.
This attitude towards life has always divided us – and also always divided the wardrobe in rather unfair proportions: his full side is crammed with shirts that he has not worn for a decade, but that he really needs. Or even more annoying: clothes that still have labels that he saves for a “special occasion”. Judging by the number of times he’s ignored them on special occasions, I feel like he’s holding out a visit to the palace for a knighthood or an ancient oracle medal.
Every now and then I’ll lure him to clear out. But like stumbling upon a scared – and wise – old deer in a forest, be careful not to reveal your intentions until the last minute if your prey goes nuts. We (well, I) even have a name for these sessions. They are called “use it or lose it” and it is a phrase that scares him.
Illustration: Mathieu De Muizon
The process works like this. “Do you think you’ll ever wear those elbow-length Elizabethan-style gloves?” I ask. He will stroke the object and then confidently say, “We have to keep it. They are very good gloves. I wore it when I was in Hamlet. “
“What about that rather tired shirt?” Sighing a lot again. In the meantime he might even have had to take a seat, since everything is getting a little too much for him. “Well, I used to love it. But well, it can work. “
Sometimes I appeal to their better judgment and suggest that someone else desperately needs one of their 50 striped shirts. We’re even doing a special halfway house section on the rail where items can hold out for another month to see if he “uses them or loses them”.
You cannot play “use or lose” for too long as tempers fray like the cuffs of an old shirt. It is also good to quickly put the outcasts in a recycling bin to make sure there are no panic withdrawals. We also give good things to Cleo, who has been helping to keep the house tidy for 15 years, which she in turn sends to her family and friends in rural Brazil. I like to imagine that an entire village is dressed like the other half – maybe someone even walks through the day in long, narrow gloves and hopes that Aunt Cleo’s next coat rack has a ruff.
Meanwhile in London I have been keeping a close eye on the trash bags being picked up on Monday, but if you happen to be in my Bloomsbury neighborhood and shuffling around a man in two distinctly different sized shoes, you will know that I have failed.