Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shoes Baffle Me

Yes, you read that right. Shoes baffle me. Don't get me wrong--I love shoes. The more comfy, the better. And if I don't have to tie or buckle or lace them? Perfect. But there is one thing I don't understand.

Why do I see stray shoes on the road?

And it's never a pair of them. I realize that shoes can come off a person's feet in tragic auto-pedestrian accidents, but I'm pretty sure the officers on the scene clean those up. I'm talking about the single shoes you see in the middle of or off to the side of the road. Where do those come from?

I've always assumed that those lonely shoes are the casualty of a move. You've seen the college students with their little hatchbacks stuffed to overflowing with all their belongings. They're bound to lose something on their way to independence, finals, and rent payments. Or maybe the shoe has been thrown out the window by a child having a tantrum. I could see that. It's even possible that someone intended to be the first to create one of these and had poor aim.

But don't people notice that something has fallen out of their car? What do they do when they unpack or arrive at their destination and realize they or their child no longer have a complete pair of shoes? Would it bother them enough that they'd retrace their route to find the errant shoe? I can see myself doing that.

Missing things bug the crap out of me. I can't stand it. The thought of losing a single shoe would be enough to put me in the funny farm. Losing a sock in the wash is cause for a near nervous breakdown. I will hunt feverishly to figure out where that sock has disappeared. I just like to have paired things in pairs. Call me compulsive or obsessive, but that's the way I am.

Enter my three sons. Fortunately for my sanity, I no longer count every Lego block as it goes back into its container to make sure all are accounted for. I gave that up when son #2 got past the Duplo stage. I still do it with the Duplo Primo container because hey--20 pieces of huge Legos aren't that hard to keep track of. I had to give up keeping track of all the Matchbox/Hotwheels cars, though. I swear those things multiply in the dark when left unattended.

When it comes to keeping track of stuff, my sons are horrible. This is annoying to me. I can tell them exactly where their stuff is. I can give them specific directions to find something that is in plain site on top of their dresser. They go to find it and come back in less than a minute, claiming that "it wasn't there." Drives me nuts. I walk them back in the exact location and, lo and behold, there it is. Exactly where I said it was. I would like to assume that it's a boy thing, since I have no experience yet with daughters. However, I'm forced to be realistic and admit that it's a personality thing.

I don't know why I am anal retentive in this way. I don't remember not being this way. I could find any one of my toys as a child because I knew exactly where they all were. And it wasn't because I was a particularly neat and organized child. My dad used to tease me about bringing in the garden tiller to clean my room because there were so many piles. But I knew what was in each pile and could find what I wanted when I wanted it. I'm weird that way.

So can anyone explain to me the mystery of roadside footwear? Has anyone actually lost a shoe this way? C'mon. Enlighten me. I really need to know.

In the meantime, if you'll excuse me, I need to find my husband's missing sock.


Anonymous said...

I actually lost a few things on the side of the road around Fillmore. We were on our way to California and the luggage rack storage thing (can't think of the name right now sorry)flew open and a grocery bag with last minute packing items such as belts, socks, and my son's sandals went flying out off the side of the road. We stopped and found most of it. Somewhere going south along the road by Fillmore is one of my son's sandals and my husband's belt. Luckily that's all that fell out!
As for your son's not being able to find things...I totally understand your pain. I have four sons and a husband that suffer from this ailment also. It too drives me crazy. (Maybe that's why they do it!)

chronicler said...

I cannot explain the fact that they don't ever seem to reconnect with their owners but I can tell you about another phenomenon.

It's called "lost soles". A blogging friend of mine takes photos of the "lost soles" and puts them up on her website. In My Kitchen You'll have to poke around a bit, but she's got several photos of lost soles. Many she took on her recent trip to Australia.

There's even a flickr group with 63 members about lost soles!

elasticwaistbandlady said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
elasticwaistbandlady said...

Okay, when I used to have a small car, I'd place my shoes on top of the roof while I loaded up my backpack and different things inside the car. Twice, I forgot my shoes on the roof. Twice, those shoes were never to be seen or heard from again.

Now, let us discuss the baffling mystery that lies behind shoes hanging from the shoelaces over power lines. What's up with that? Somebody once told me that it's a gang insignia thing. I hope not, because we have a lot of lonely shoes hanging over the roads around my house.

pflower10 said...

Fear not. I believe that the shoes that have been so hastily discarded on the many roads of life are actually a metaphor for all of us. What that metaphor means will mean something profoundly different to each and every one of us. I believe that we can find the meaning of life in the discarded items that we see along the many roads that we travel. Or maybe someone just stepped in some poo and needed to get rid of it asap! either one.

compulsive writer said...

I'm with Angi. It's a metaphor.

I have two--no make that three--children who habitually lose relatively expensive items of clothing such as coats and shoes. They will lose both shoes--not just one. I have no explanation for it except that they are social people who get around a lot and they have better things on their minds than where they left their clothing behind. (I always wonder why it had to be removed in the first place.)

Found that sock yet?

The Daredevil Mom said...

No way! I used to count every single lego, puzzle piece, barbie shoe!

I'm glad I let that go. It was making me constipated.

The Daredevil Mom said...

By the way, I love that shoe picture. I sat staring it at it with my head to one side for a long time. I still don't get it.

Geo said...

Check your husband's bellybutton. When I was a freshman at BYU, it was cute Joe Bavender who explained to me that the socks that disappear in the laundry are actually zapped into another dimension and the only portal they have for re-entry into our own is through a man's navel. And that's where bellybutton lint comes from. It's just your socks trying to come home again.

I love the link. And I love Big Fish, which the shoe tree thing reminds me of. And I love this post. And I love those red shoes.

Julie said...

Cari: Losing a shoe that way makes sense. I'm a little nervous about purchasing one of those luggage rack storage things (I don't know the name either) because I'm afraid it will pop open.

Chronicler: What a cool site. I loved the photos, and I loved the "lost soles" title.

Elastic: I have yet to see the shoes on the power line thing. Must be a Texas phenomenon.

Pflower and Compulsive: I won't even attempt to dive into the metaphorical meaning of lost shoes. Not gonna do it. And no, I haven't found the sock yet.

Daredevil: It's a control thing. Really. :) And I'm glad you let it go. I hear that Milk of Magnesia really helps with that constipation stuff. Just don't drink a whole bottle of it.

Geo: I'm snorting over the bellybutton lint theory. I'm definitely sharing that one with my hubby. He'll appreciate it. I'm glad that my socks aren't trying to come home again through my naval. But, then, I don't lose my socks.

Lyle said...


Dating back to before Stonehenge, the head druid would ceremoniously toss out a sandle from the wagon after any formal gathering. It served as a marker for other druids and point the druid in the direction s/he should follow.

The tradition continues with more modern day attire.

Elizabeth-W said...

I've always believed that missing socks turn into wire hangers in the back of my closet.
I've seen the shoes over the power line thing in every state I've ever lived, including Utah. I'd never heard the gang story--I just thought it was some mean thing teenage boys did to each other.

becks said...

there are even shoes over powerlines in rexburg. i heard once that it was a sign for drug dealers. but, i could definately see it as some trick a kid played on someone else. maybe we should turn all of those powerlines with shoes on them into powerlines with lots of shoes. like the shoe tree. but, i'm not willing to give up any of my shoes because i love my shoes.

Lessel Peeper said...

I think most of the shoes over powerlines we see are copycats. In Puerto Rico, people said it was an indication of where to buy drugs--but what idiot would hang a sign to tell police where to come get them? Although, people are stupid. One evening I sat and watched a guy sell drugs on a corner marked with shoes...until the cops came.

The other philosophy was that you would hang a pair of shoes if you "got lucky."

I once saw a kid throwing stuff out the window just so he could watch it bounce down the road. It looked like great fun until he got caught.

Lorien said...

funny. geo made me snort, too. I once lost a pair of shoes and to this day do not know how they came missing. Maybe some poor sole stole them from my porch. If they needed them that bad, then they were welcome to them. They were cheap anyway.

compulsive writer said...

I have a confession.

I hate shoes.

OK, slippers are kind of comfy the winter. I especially love the silk ones Melody bought me from TJ Maxx once (but I can only find one--see, a metaphor, I tell you!) and the yummy fleece-lined slippers I brought back from Finland. And I couldn't cook in my kitchen all day without my favorite Birkenstocks.

But I'd rather be barefoot. (And that's barefoot period with no "and...")

End of problem. No lost socks. No abandoned half-pair of shoes. No baffling paradox.

Just happy feet!

wendysue said...

When I was in high school I remember keeping track of how many days this one shoe was in the middle of one of the main roads. . .I think it was like 40 days. . .seriously. . .40 days!! I think it was a Sperry tennis shoe (remember those?)

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced not being able to find things is a male thing.But consider this: were they able to find what they were looking for you would never have to go find it for them.Most males don't see as well as females?
Must admit though that I have looked and looked for something and it turns up under my nose.Perhaps females look longer and harder.We don't give up the search as quickly. Wonder why that is?

AzĂșcar said...

I have a theory:
See, there are boys and siblings. Put those things together in a car with a distracted mom, and OUT go the shoes. You know, you've got rapscallions running around.

CW- You hate shoes? I once wore a favorite pair to sleep--just didn't want to take them off. Sometimes, when I wear flats, it feels like I'm tipping backwards. I have yet to find a pair of slippers I like. I hate being barefoot. I guess you and I are the yin and the yang of feet.

Anonymous said...

My mom used to blame the Gadianton robbers every time something came up missing so I think it is the Gadianton band trying to get even with us for withholding from them their rights to the government.

Martin said...

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she really liked it. Those shoes are soooooooooooo fabulous and what an awesome photo. We hunted for it in all online stores, but unable to find one and at-last ended up purchasing Born ALYSSA DK BROWN VEGETARIAN shoes.