Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spit and Polish

It was a long weekend in my neck of the woods - Victoria Day, to be precise, which means it's supposed to be a holiday.

However, having had my living room, dining room, hall and kitchen painted and new windows installed that needed paint touch-ups (by moi), it meant I worked. And worked. And worked. And not just painting. There was sanding, vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, putting dishes and books back, and last but not least, waxing and polishing hard wood floors.

Yep, we have ye olde hardwoods floor that require waxing and polishing with ye olde floor polisher.

As I was waxing and polishing (and waxing and polishing), I was reminded of the last time polishing assumed such prominence in my existence.

Basic training. When it was my shoes. And yes, they had to be very shiny, and yes, I used spit to get the shine.

Here was the method:

Apply polish in small circles (which explained my circular application of floor polish - old habits die hard). Spit on same, then rub in more small circles. Buff. The theory went that saliva made it shinier. I don't know about that, but it gave us something to do in the evening. Kind of like a quilting bee, only with the heavy scent of shoe polish.

There are other methods and let me tell you, it can become like some kind of competition of the Dark Arts, getting the best shine. One involved heating the polish with a candle. I always expected to hear chanting with that one.

Because shiny shoes assumed such importance in our lives, ruining somebody's shoe shine also became a means of expressing animosity. Sounds weird, I suppose, but it happened. Fortunately, not in our platoon, but it got ugly - and I'm not just talking about the shoes.

However, that was long ago, and now I can fondly reminisce about spit and polish.

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