Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Random Shoe Phenomenon

I'm sure I'm not the first person to ever make this observation. But the higher than average number of sightings lately makes the question unavoidable.

What is the deal with solitary shoes lying on the road???

I've spotted at least a dozen shoes just lying on the road over the last couple of weeks. A black wing tip. A brown clog. A white sneaker. Always on the edge of the road. And always alone.

How does that happen? An angry couple embroiled in a bitter disagreement over whether the toilet paper roll hangs with the paper going over the top or coming underneath, and suddenly one of them yanks off a shoe and flings it at the head of the other, barely missing. And they watch it fly out the open window. And decide...oh what the hell, we'll just leave it there. Is that it?

Or does someone buy new shoes and just can't wait till they get home to wear them...and in the rush to change simply loses control of one shoe and out it goes?

Backseat lovers flailing and groping and...well...use your imagination.

Perhaps it doesn't even come from a car! A jogger with a blowout? A pedestrian who doesn't realize until much later that they lost a shoe?!?!

A shoe gnome?

I have no working theories. But it is a truly odd occurrence. And there are a lot of folks at home tonight holding one shoe and wondering what to do with it.


Carmi said...

Greetings, Em. First-time commenter here: I followed you home from Michele's tonight.

I live in a university town, and I, too, have long wondered about the origins of the seemingly orphaned footwear on our area roads.

Everyone I've asked seems to have a different answer, but the majority of responses point to initiation rituals for frats and sororities, and the rather unfortunate after-effects of binge drinking. Either way, it isn't something my suburbanish life ethic understands anymore.

Even when I was living the life of a college student, I never got to hammered that I came home with at least one bare foot. Odd stuff, this.

I look forard to reading more of your work!

Em said...

You may be on to something there. Excessive drinking and missing shoes seem to go together, huh! I'm with you, I've never come home without one...but I can see how it might happen.