Whenver I am in good luck to escape a domestic argument, I check my watch to take the next available bus. Having prepared myself with my shoulder bag that contains my necessary paraphernalia, I step outside onto the courtyard’s gravel surface. About twenty paces on the split and its crunching noises, a short ramp leads up to the main road. At its intersection turning left, the bus stop’s covered shelter is a mere twenty steps away.
From here to Weidling station, the bus will need about eight minutes, depending on the frequency of stops. Most days around lunchtime, only a few travelers will take the bus. This means that one will be in good time to change over to the main bus lines, 238 and 239, to continue Wiener Strasse to Heiligenstadt, where the U4 subway starts to Vienna. If one is in a hurry, one has to plan the route more carefully and allow some time for walking up to the relevant platform. In 10 to 12 minutes, the U4 arrives at central Vienna. I was reading the daily newspaper, when I missed to exit the train at Schwedenplatz. I only noticed my mistake, as the train left the station. I could not see the station’s sign from where I sat.
However, I wanted to check out a sports shoe shop located at Wien Mitte’s shopping complex for some time now. I had an hour’s time until I had to visit the Art Forum at Judenplatz, where I assisted Nica, the secretary of Mr. T with general administrative tasks, on a voluntary basis.
Hervis is a huge sports shop with thousands of sports shoes. I was in good luck, the whole shop offered sports shoes in every size and colour for sale, while I observed batches of same qualities, grouped together in original shoeboxes, also advertised on shelves.
I strolled about for some time. I knew beforehand that I wanted a pair of black walking or hiking shoes with same coloured soles, not running shoes, as I would wear them to casual everyday clothes. I saw a black pair of Adidas, which had black soles, but could not find size 40 European size that’s 6 ½ in England. A second pair of Nike had white soles. Then having done a full round through the shelves, I saw a pair of all black shoes. They were just what I wanted. I liked them straight away. Finding a pair of 40-size, I Took them out of the box and untied the black and white striped shoelaces. The red triangulated Reebok label, indicated on the front shoe leather with the company name below, was tasteful and understated in comparison to others. The one pair left fitted me perfectly. I tried on both shoes, laced them up and walked around the shop for a while. Then I sat down and studied the information left in the box. Gore-Tex is a waterproofing label promising to keep one’s feet dry during rain.
I recalled the time I spent in Greece, when I used to spray my hiking shoes to remain water repellent against sudden showers. As I paid for the shoes, the smarmy sales clerk talked me into a box of water repellent spray. “You could use it on all your shoes and easy sports clothing.” I thought of my hiking boots, in rough leather, the linen shoes modelled on tennis shoes and the tight sports slacks. Even if this spray was comparatively expensive, I took it, always reminding me how easy I contracted a cold from wet feet.
I should have left the new sports shoes on and rather pack my patent leather shoes into the box. They are comparatively feeling harder and at present are uncomfortable on my feet, especially as they not absorbing any hard uneven surfaces of the Viennese granite cobble stone paving of most street and squares in the First district.
So I left for the gallery and on arrival decided, to put them on immediately, as my pelvis hurt me. Immediately I felt better and I did this in good time still.
Just as I finished, Mr. T phoned me and asked me to fetch from Papier Lustig, some ink cartridges for his calligraphic Lamy pen. OK.
As I mentioned earlier, the walk on the roughhewn cobblestones is much easier with well absorbing sports shoes. It’s almost a joy and I don’t mind it at all, besides I still have to break the new sports shoes in. That does not happen with one twenty minute walk. I am happy again. My old Nike shoes were all leather without any ventilated fabric for the upper shoes. They had a good waterproofing, but my socks became damp and I sweated in them. Now, with a twenty-first century material my feet feel just great and warm, without sweating in the warm spring temperatures. Thanks for the voluntary work at the gallery, I am able to afford new shoes at times, especially when a grand sale is on. “Have you bought new shoes?” My co-worker Nica exclaims, as she saw me putting on my shoes. She is supportive and we enjoy together all new things we buy. Last time she showed me her new pajamas she had bought at a sale. “Feel how cuddly they are.” She felt the garment between her fingers wanting me to confirm it. I touched it, as if I would touch her, dressed in her pajamas. The material of a cotton mix felt soft like cashmere. “Indeed I said.” Her eyes shot glances. I know Nica appreciates my company, just as much as I appreciate hers. There’s a friendship going with us, since I have joined the gallery. Besides, her dusky eyes and her svelte figure had smote me. Back then, she had no intention to become involved in a new affaire. Well, we worked together and became friends.
As my memory plays out sceneries from my immediate past with her, I recall the hours of talks we had together. Most themes were about art and I listened to her life stories and the philosophy she had adopted. Her portrait came to mind. She asked me to do one of her. I used a photograph as a basis and drew her face with a soft pencil. She liked it.
The small brook, called Weidlingbach, has a narrow stream along a wide, regulated riverbed. Massive deposits of fertile ground have pushed the brook’s flow to the one side. In the rainy season, it will swell up to cover the whole width of the assigned bed. In this time, lots of soil will be swept down from the mountains. Its accumulation along the snaking lines of the brook will consolidate to ground, where shrubs and trees begin to grow. Repeatedly they are trimmed and the local council does minimal maintenance. I observe the geese and ducks returning from their southern resorts to which they had migrated during wintertime.
I have taken a casual walk along the brook and with my mind diverted to observation, I have forgotten about my new shoes. They fit so well that I have not felt any pressure points.
There were times of grief, when some pollutant washed down the brook, its source could be traced back to the smaller contributory from the north-west, joining the Weidlingbach at a junction off the bridge to Weidlingbachstrasse. Some kind of soap or chemical powder that did not dissolve in the brook, producing bubbles in midst of a soap-like melee that formed around weirs and corners at larger rocks, along the meandering brook. If one took a walk along Paul Hörbiger Weg, reserved for pedestrians, one could follow it, until the spot, where one had to leave the pedestrian path and visit the supermarket of Hofer, or continue for a short while along another path, called Prägarten that connected up to Wienerstrasse. Hofer’s supermarket building, named minimalist architecture. A neat framework construction, clad in prefinished white wall panels with rows of fixed, tinted windows. The market is part of a popular chain of supermarkets, where prices and quality match the lower middle class.
This is where my walk usually ends and I buy a pint of goat milk and some fresh rolls. At present the distance back again will serve me as enough exercise as well.
I am glad for my new sports shoes. Today at the end of March 2017, I have finally reached the point, where my shoes are broken in.