These are a pair of Scott’s work shoes from when he used to work hard.

Instead of being covered with paint, which was Scott’s income when public school teaching became intolerable,one of these shoes has residue from floor tile adhesive on its toe.

The issue is wearing this pair when I go to public historical places in less wealthy Caribbean or Latin American countries. In these places there are shoe shine hustlers who want to clean them on sight. Before I see the shoeshine guys, they have swooped down out of nowhere and are fiddling with my shoes even though I insist that I and my shoes are perfectly happy to be left alone.

Part of travel is using precautions. Make a copy of your Passport to show to people in lieu of the real thing. Don’t wear flashy jewelry. Don’t tell strangers where you live. Don’t drink water, except bottled. Go in groups at night. Don’t do things abroad you wouldn’t do at home. Get all your shots. Use sunscreen. Use local currency. Don’t insert yourself into police business or arguments between men and women.

My newest precaution, before traveling again, is going to be to clean this adhesive off my shoe.

I hate to tell people ” no” when shining shoes is their livelihood and is all that stands between them and hunger.



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