Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shoe, fly

Lately, I've become increasingly aware of a strange phenomenon on America's roadways. (Perhaps it also exists on exotic roadways, but since I'm a continental gal, my awareness is decidedly limited.) You may have noticed it, too. It's definitely more prevalent in the warm months, but I've seen it all though the year: Random shoes on the side of the road. Or lying, hapless, on the median.

These lost shoes are not the "pair of sneakers over the wire" stunt. That is a foolish but more traditional shoe folly that I've never attempted, yet it makes at least a little bit of sense to me; apparently, the point of that little trick is to remove the shoes from the owner and cause consternation and frustration in said owner. Like I said, stupid—but meant to achieve an end. Petty, but purposeful.

This is not so with the roadside shoe. In all cases, the shoe is a single footwear item, separated from its mate. It usually appears to be in good repair, and the style of shoe I've seen abandoned in recent months is quite often a heavier, more formal style—sometimes a sneaker, more times an oxford style. (My informal statistics have proven that most often, these orphans appear to be big boys' or men's shoes.)

Now, flip-flops are just an invitation for shoe loss. They don't fit snugly to the foot, there's nothing secure or stable about them, they fly off even as people attempt to walk on level ground sometimes... but oddly, the flip-flop is not a frequent roadside shoe.

I despise waste, and seeing those single shoes makes me sad and angry. It is inarguably wasteful to toss a perfectly good shoe out of a window, thus rendering the other shoe absolutely useless unless the hurler happens to have a peg-leg. (Even prosthetic legs usually sport a matching shoe.)

I try to envision how the loss happened. Was there a battle within a car's confines? Were shoes used as weapons? Was a threat made, a blow delivered before the shoe sailed away? Or were these shoes perhaps someone's favorites that happened to be in the back seat when a cruel passenger flung them so thoughtlessly? Were they meant to be returned to a store and then not accepted, and thus thrown in anger? And if so, why not throw both of them? Or, better yet, donate them to Goodwill so some other unfortunate sod can wear them?

You see what I mean? It doesn't keep me awake, but it bothers me. A small matter, in this big world—but a matter than I cannot let rest.

Keep your shoes on, folks. And if you have insights about this, please feel free to share them.


Cari Skuse said...

I can tell you from personal experience how this could happen. Little children think that it is funny to throw shoes out the open window of a moving car. Cade tried this one Sunday while we were traveling down McKnight. Luckily the other two yelled when he did it and we retrieved the lost shoe. Dang kids!

Mel said...

those silly boys... all 4 of 'em. I can totally see that.

but then why are all the shoes I see big, clodhopper shoes and not tiny, cute little kid shoes?

unless the kids are throwing adult shoes out?