Sole purpose

The way you treat people can make a huge difference to their day and I say this as someone who swore into their Apple Watch this morning. My husband who was on the other end, didn’t seem too bothered by the expletives and said: ‘Please don’t tell me you’re in the middle of Waitrose?’ It’s okay folks, I was in the car park, safely shut in my vehicle with all the windows closed.

I had tap rage. My daughter announced yesterday that the metal plate on one of her tap shoes had come off. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a problem, but she’s off to Birmingham on Sunday for a three-day dance workshop.

‘She’ll just have to miss out the tap bit,’ said my husband nonchalantly.

‘But it’s her favourite bit.’

‘Nobody will notice if one of her shoes doesn’t make a noise,’ he replied.

I envy my husband sometimes. He doesn’t get worked up about much, but I couldn’t bear the idea of my daughter feeling upset, left out or embarrassed by her silent tap shoe.

I was at the cobbler’s door when he opened up at 9am this morning. I gave him my best smile and asked if he could secure a new metal plate onto my daughter’s shoe. I had one at the ready, along with the right screws to fit it.

‘I might be able to,’ he said.

‘What does that mean?’

‘You can give it to me and come and collect it at 5pm. It might be done.’

‘Or it might not?’

‘Yes, it’s a fiddly job you see and I’m busy.’

When I got home, my husband was on the phone to the nearest dance shop asking if they stocked tap shoes.

‘Is it an adult size 7 or a child’s?’ asked the shop assistant.

‘A child’s’ said my husband.

‘No, no, no,’ I cried, picturing him cowering as I hurled miniature tap shoes in his direction.

‘I think it’s time you booked yourself back into Marion’s decompression cabin,’ he said.

Whenever I lose my rag in this house, somebody always brings up Marion and suggests that my mentoring course is a waste of money. They wonder how anyone on a spiritual path could be this angry. I sometimes wonder myself.

Where is this story going to end? Well, fearing that all was lost, I called a cobbler in another part of town. A cheery man on the end of the phone said ‘I can do that for you no problem.’

I dropped the shoe in and he fixed it within the space of an hour. I tipped him and said: ‘Thank-you SO much. This is the only shoe mending/key cutting shop I am ever going to use from now on’ and I meant it.

The day was saved. My daughter will go to Birmingham tomorrow with two fully functioning tap shoes and I will be as proud as anything when I watch her perform. One person’s helpfulness made a big difference to us this weekend and I really appreciate it.

I’d much rather be like the happy, co-operative cobbler than his grumpy, overworked competitor however, I am both. I too have been short with people when I’ve felt overwhelmed and stressed. It’s made me think about how, with a little bit of effort, I might spread a bit more goodwill.

I won’t be going back to the miserable shoe mender’s shop in a hurry, but I send him my blessings nonetheless. He is only human after all.

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