Vintage Shoes on Ceramic Wall Sconce
A Nebulous Number of Days of Atomity and Memory
‘Pairanormal’ Platform Shoes
When I worked at the Royal Ontario Museum, I often wore high heels, not stilettos, but spikey lifts up to about two inches in height. With this fashion choice came regular shoe maintenance as the tips of the heels often wore out, exposing a nail head that made a distinctly loud clicking sound on hard surfaces. There also came a time when many shoe manufacturers stopped using rubber tips on high heels and used inexpensive plastic ones which made walking in heels all the more dangerous – plastic heels are extremely slippery on smooth surfaces, such as on the marble floors of the museum. To minimize the increased risk of promenading in high heels, upon purchasing a new pair of shoes with plastic tips, I would immediately take them to a local shoe repair shop and have rubber tips added instead.
Just around the corner from the Museum, there is a shopping concourse at the base of the Colonnade apartment complex (now luxury condominiums), and tucked into a corner of its basement was a tiny cubicle of a space occupied by a shoe repair service that became my go-to place. The stand was windowless, poorly lit, inadequately ventilated, and almost every available inch was stacked high with shoes awaiting repair or with shoes ready for pick up. To me, it felt like a joyless, utilitarian, pre-industrial work room with the exception of a small display of colourful vintage shoes and I eventually became the owner of three pairs of these shoes dating from the late 60s or 70s.
I cannot recall what came first in my current home, the shoes or the ceramic sconces crafted to imitate metal that’s been exposed to the elements. But I believe I purchased the sconces initially and then was inspired to enhance them with a display of some of the cool shoes I had seen in the repair shop. The owner agreed to sell me three pairs. I have no recollection how much I paid, but I’m sure it was less than what they might have cost me at a flea market. These shoes now decorate the wall that greets me as I enter my home. However, it is a pair of off-white platforms with purple bows that became a part of a paranormal experience.
In 2015, I was laid off from a job I had in a building project office at George Brown College. The department was dismantled once construction was completed and I was on the hunt for new employment. The college had given me a generous departure package, so I had the luxury of taking my time finding the right job with which to conclude my administrative career, but living on one’s own and being unemployed is still stressful – especially when people insist on telling you a person so close to retirement age isn’t likely to be hired ever again, nor would I find one that met my salary expectations, nor would I find a job in a location close to home.
I started to internalize these unsolicited messages and, after several months of interviewing for jobs that weren’t a good fit or not being called for interviews for ones that seemed perfect, I had a memorable moment when my mind started to spin frenetically with worry and fear. In fact, I was on the verge of having a mild panic attack.
As I have written previously, I once learned from a psychic that souls that have transitioned choose a means of communication with Earth beings that specifically resonates with a particular loved one and, in my case, with my passion for cinema, mimicking a scene from a recently seen movie is what came to light. So, as my thoughts about my employment situation were spinning out of control, a book fell off the middle of one my bookcases, fully distracting me, and propelling my mind to a scene in the Matthew McConnaughey film Interstellar.
Interstellar is a compelling story about a team of explorers who travel through a wormhole near Saturn in search of a new home for humankind. It’s a complex and layered tale, but the only part that is relevant to this one is that the main character, played by McConnaughey, tries to communicate from the future with his daughter on Earth and living in the past (literally). And the manner in which the space and time traveller eventually succeeds in connecting with his child from his 5D world is by pushing some books off a shelf in his daughter’s bedroom.
The book in my home that dropped to the floor while I was reeling with doubt was Oprah Presents a Masterclass. It was not sitting on the shelf in the normal way (perpendicular to the back panel). As a coffee table book, I had the cover facing outwards and resting on the edge of the front part of the shelf. Consequently, after it plummeted and I had that brief Interstellar recollection, I quickly rationalized that perhaps some vibrations in the building’s walls had destabilized the book’s position.
I returned the book to its place and the monkey chatter in my head resumed. Within minutes, not only did the book fall to the floor again, but the book propped behind it also fell. Again, I chalked it up to unstable balancing on the shelf and, again, placed both books back in position. I once more started ruminating about my job situation allowing despair to take over my mindset. And then I heard another thud, but this time on the other side of my unit. One of the cream-coloured platform shoes had fallen off its supporting sconce and had crashed to the floor.
I was now unsettled in a very different way, so I closely scrutinized the way each shoe of all three pairs rested on their respective sconce and confirmed that they were, as they are now, firmly situated on the full surface of each decorative piece. It was physically impossible for any of the shoes to simply topple off the edge without being pushed by some force.
This incident is not as cinematic as the near-end scene in the movie Ghost where Patrick Swayze, in his spirit state, manipulates a penny to convince Demi Moore of his other-worldly presence, but it’s pretty damn close. After the shoe dropped, I stopped fretting about my job situation. In fact, I actively ceased seeking a job and within a couple of months, I was interviewed for and succeeded in getting a position for which I had applied prior to the shoe incident. I also received the salary I had hoped for, along with improved benefits, and the office was even closer to home than my former job – walkable actually. But it took an incident with a ‘pairanormal’ platform shoe, a message I interpreted as coming from my late father letting me know he was indeed watching over me, to reassure me I could safely surrender to forces I had yet to fully understand.