I’ve never been one for wearing shoes. They have always been rather an inconvenient necessity, something you need to wear to keep your feet warm in winter, or to go with the business suit or evening dress you are wearing. But I’m one of those who kicks her shoes off at the door, usually before I step over the threshold. It might have something to do with living in a wooden house with wooden floors, but that is really just to avoid the noise factor. There is something about walking barefoot on wood that gives you a connection to the earth even when you are three metres above it, and walking outside in the garden without shoes is an absolute must. The best part of summer is not having to wear shoes.
I’m sure I must be a source of great amusement to the neighbours if they ever observe me making my way up the driveway at the end of the day to put the porcupine food under the hedge. The gravel driveway stretches for 60 feet and I hobble along, knees bent, looking for the smoothest patches to put a foot and sometimes going more sideways than forwards. I also have this idea that if I move as fast as possible, the discomfort of the sharpish stones will be less noticeable. The alternative is to walk on the grass, but this year’s crop of thorns has exceeded all previous years, due to the lawn not being cut regularly enough to halt the development of the seeds of the thorn plants.They are starting to dry now and are losing their soft greenness. So it’s a toss-up between stones and thorns.
I have winter feet and summer feet. Winter feet are soft and smooth and pretty clean, having been ensconced in soft socks for many months. Summer feet have a hard ridge with cracks that require a good scrubbing with sandpaper after soaking in a footbath of very hot water and bubble bath to soften them up and rid them of the day’s dirt. While this may sound absolutely revolting to someone who never goes barefoot, I can assure you that I exaggerate, and that I know many people who could do with a smoothing from an electric sander!
Copious layers of heel balm follow, which attracts every dog and cat hair between the bathroom and the bed, and I can tell you that despite the blurb in the advertising, it doesn’t work. The only solution to cracked heels is to wear socks and shoes. Fixed in three days.
Our garage is very well used and a great deal of grinding and planing and wire-brushing goes on in there. All this is extremely hazardous to the bare foot, and there is no way of avoiding the area, as the washing machine is kept in the garage – an excellent way to avoid flooding in the house (after 32 years here, I am still waiting for the washing machine to flood, but at least I know it won’t happen upstairs). I’m always pulling bits of metal out of my feet and have taken to sweeping the area with a giant magnet every so often to pick up errant metal fragments. Glass is a bit more difficult to track.
You might ask why I don’t just wear shoes. The simple answer is, I just hate wearing them. I’m sure some psychologist would say it’s rebellion against the restriction of the freedom we had when we first appeared on earth – that’s good enough for me!