Time to get back to writing, I suppose. Maybe I’ll start with something simple, like:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
I don’t even know why I bought them. It’s not like I’ve ever had a baby who could have used them— I mean, my friends have babies, but who buys shoes for a baby who isn’t theirs? That’s kind of a weird gift, right? You know who gives babies a gift of shoes? Grandmothers and goblins, that’s who. Shoes are the gift of a spiritual trickster who wants to, I dunno, eat all your oats or, like, make it so you can’t look at strawberries without farting or something. And that’s not really my M.O., not with shoes, anyway, not with babies. Although I have had several friends give *me* shoes as a gift— but I’m no baby, and all of those shoes are very well worn. And I’m not selling them!
Unless you’re interested, maybe?
For sale: adult shoes, worn.
It is a gig economy after all, so if you’re interested, I guess I could sell them to you. And it has often been lamented (by those I’ve loved and lost) how many shoes I have and how much space they consume. But he’s gone now, and I’m still here, and maybe I’ll always feel like I consume too much space upon this rack. Anyway…
Also— I should probably mention— at least one shoe for one of the pairs being sold has a suspicious stain.
For sale: adult shoes, worn; may be slightly discolored around the edges. (This covers several pairs of shoes; will remove post when they're all gone!)
But honestly, there’s nothing suspicious about the stain; I know exactly when and where it came from. I remember what I was doing, and where I was, and who else was there, and who else wasn’t (as if he were lost, but not for the first time and not for the last). I can tell you exactly how this stain upon my sole came to be.
And y’know what? Come to think of it? — I know how fetishes on the internet work, so if you specifically want the shoe with the stains, I’m happy to oblige. First come, first served.
For sale: adult shoes, worn and stained— legitimate buyers only!
Sure, I can sell the shoe. The story of the stain, though, that’ll cost extra.
Because I don’t just fancy myself a shoe salesman (and, apparently, a person who “fancies” things)— I’m a writer (um, hello? callback to my intro statement because I’m a *good* writer). A writer, a teller of tales, a weaver of stories, a smithy of words! I’m only moonlighting as a shoe salesman for the sake of the metaphor, and, really, there’s nothing at all wrong with a writer selling stories, so maybe the ad should read more like:
For sale: one story, never told.
—and when you buy the story of the stain, you get the shoe for free (because I guess I’m selling shoe-related fetish tracts, now). But it’s not just that one story I have; there are several. Why not sell them all?
For sale: one story, never told (choose "the one about the shoe stain" at checkout; shipping is extra)
For sale: one story, never told (choose "the one about the bandana" if that's what tickles you; shipping is extra, but handling is free *wink*)
For sale: one story collection (choose "body beautiful" at checkout; note: this set of stories have certainly been told before, but the juxtaposition and author's "foreword with hindsight" are new)
For sale: one story, never told (choose "the one about the underwear" at checkout; but caveat emptor— this will be a third-party purchase from a man who never actually told me the story, so I don't know what happens, or happened, and I still don't know whose underwear these are)
And don’t forget—
For sale: adult shoes, worn (choose "actual shoes" at checkout; +S&H, no C.O.D.)
— because, per my explanation earlier, I really do have all these shoes, some of which have been given to me, and I need to downsize, I need to let go of the things I’ve outgrown, and finally —
For sale: baby shoes, never worn
— because I still have these damn baby shoes that I bought for god(dess(e/s)) only knows what reason sometime before now.
You know, I don’t even remember buying these baby shoes? I was probably drunk at the time.
I was probably drunk and procrastinating from actually writing something by dicking around on blogs and ended up on some asshat’s Xanga, praising “the genius of Hemingway” or something (ahem— For sale: one story, just a myth) and I was probably like— fuck it! I’m going to buy a pair of baby shoes! and not wear them! because I’m no baby! (don’t forget, I’m drunk at this point in the historia potentia, so for your headvoice of Drunk Doug, please imagine a erudite pelican with a mouth full of PopRocks and peanut butter) and thanks to the power of one click ordering, I’m now the proud owner of a pair of baby shoes that no one is ever going to wear.
That certainly sounds like the kind of meta bullshit I used to get myself into, though I’ve been more calm during the pandemic. Shenanigans? More like sheNONEigans. Not lately, not in quarantine.
Quarantine, mi quarantena, my “forty days” as I begin the next forty years, a day for a year, a story for a stain, a shoe for no one … But I think it’s starting to feel normal. I think I’m starting to feel normal. Alone, but not isolated, no longer part of a pair, no longer wondering what comes next. Just normal. So I’m selling these shoes, baby, because I don’t need them anymore. The path they trod is behind me, with all the stains and wear and tear(s), and it’s time to clear out the old.
Welcome to Your Forties In Quarantine.