I had to go down to LA for a few days for some meetings and a couple of cowriting sessions. After living in LA for so long, it felt strange to be flying in for a visit. But it felt good. I'm loving living in the mountains right now. New ideas are flowing in every day. This is quickly turning into one of the most creative periods of my life.
I was hungry (what else is new?) at the airport and had some free time before boarding, so I grabbed a burrito at La Salsa in the food court in my terminal. I was sitting eating my lunch when I noticed a little shoe shine stand to my left. Shoe shine stands are pretty common in a lot of airports, but the girl who was working there was a whole different story. Black hat. Leopard scarf. Patent leather apron. And light blue eyes with a vibe you could feel from the Cinnabon to the Mongolian BBQ. Just looking at her made me smile.
I finished my lunch wondering if she'd let me take her picture. She was inspiring and would be a great painting. It's hard for me to ask people sometimes because they tend to have no idea how interesting they are and wonder why I'd want their picture. Then I have to explain how fabulous they are, and because they don't believe it themselves, they almost never believe me. And then IF they say "yes", the picture is uncomfortable and forced. I guess my technique needs improvement.
I figured it was worth trying though, so I walked up and asked this girl. At first she looked at me weird and was probably wondering what my deal was. Was I creepy? Was I trying to pick her up? She thought for a minute then said "if you get your shoes shined, you can take my picture."
She obliged the photo below. Her name was Angelina. The back of her shirt said "Got Shine?" and as you can see her last name was a stage name. Evidently she's a "Shine Therapist." She then said that her shift was over and her co-shiner, Michelle, a licensed "Shinologist," would actually be working on my boots. No problem. I'm glad I didn't wait any longer to ask. And I'm glad I was wearing boots. My sneakers wouldn't have allowed this to happen.
Michelle proceeded to not only shine my boots, but make them look better than they did when I brought them home new. While she was working, a man walked up and asked if he could be next. She said yes, and he climbed up on the seat next to me. The chairs were those tall regal old school shining thrones. So there we were. Two kings chatting for a few minutes while Michelle performed her mini miracle on my feet.
Joel was a financial planner with clients in 19 states, and a really cool guy. We talked about the world, music, money, life and the finer points of Davis, California. I got his card, and if I had any finances worth planning, I'd certainly want to call him.
When Michelle finished my boots I shook both their hands and walked away a happy man with a handful of great new memories...and some damn shiny boots. It was the perfect beginning to what turned into a wildly successful trip to LA.
So if you ever find yourself in the Southwest Airlines terminal at Sacramento airport, wear some shoes worth shining. And bring your camera. It'll be worth it.
Before Angelina left, she asked me what I do for a living. When I told her, she got excited and asked if I'd write a blog about my experience. So Angelina, here you go. Thanks for making my day.