23 May 2008

A Poor Shoe

The thing about Memorial Day weekend is that the traffic sucks. It usually takes me an hour to get from my house to my mother's house; today it took two. The child and I discussed matters of national importance, like where is that airplane going? and what's 2 plus 2 plus 2? Then she fell asleep and I listened to k.d. lang as loudly as I thought prudent (pretty loud; she sleeps soundly). And then, sitting on an off-ramp, I spotted a shoe. I sat there for so long that I had time to take a picture of it.

It's not that it was a particularly nice shoe or anything, though it looked pretty good considering that it was full of leaves and cigarette butts and had probably been sitting there for awhile. But, why was it there? Where was the other shoe? How do you lose one shoe when you're driving? Whose shoe was it? What happened to her?

Remember cassette tapes? They seem to have gone the way of the dodo. But until not so long ago, I'd see unspooled tape fluttering alongside highways, tangled in gutters, snagged on guard rails. And every single time I'd see a bit of that omnipresent tape I wondered what was on it and how it came to be there. Was it just a dud cassette, a broken tape, flung out the car window in a littering rage? Or was it more tragic - the precipitous disposal of a reminder of a past love, "our song" out the window? Or perhaps it was nefarious - shades of Richard Nixon and Rose Mary Woods, but tossing the tape in lieu of erasing it.

I never see CDs along the side of the road. But today I saw a shoe.

When my sister was in elementary school, she wrote a poem, in large, careful pencil letters on lined paper. My mother framed it and it remains hanging in the downstairs back bathroom gallery of childhood (and if I were really energetic I could go down there and take a picture of the poem, but I won't because I'm in bed). The poem reads, in its entirety:

My poor shoe
My poor shoe
My poor shoe
Is stuck in dog doo.

Have a lovely weekend. May your car audio devices work flawlessly and your shoes remain in your possession.

17 comments:

painted maypole said...

curiouser and curiouser

slouching mom said...

it must be something in my constitution, but i can view that shoe only as the remnant of a very terrible and sad event.

KWIM?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

How do so many people manage to lose just one shoe?

Angeline said...

Ewww...that sucks!

Sober Briquette said...

I would've tossed that shoe too. I'm tall enough I never had to succumb to the pointy toe.

I did toss the cassette tapes when we were moving, but my husband is the one who took that load to the dump, and as he heaved the box, the cassettes went flying. He leapt after them and brought home as many as he could salvage. He is clearly insane.

The thing about Memorial Day is that I know the fly-over will leave me gaping at the sky in awe, although last week an Apache helicopter was visiting a local parts manufacturer so they stopped traffic on the road I was traveling and I was bilious for the rest of the afternoon.

womaninawindow said...

The poetry of discarded items. I love this...I love the poem...I love that you took this picture. I just seem full of love this moment...in spite of littering, in spite of traffic, in spite of dog doo.

LAS said...

You have a good weekend too!

Aunt Becky said...

I've always wondered about those shoes left by the side of the road. The gloves, too.

Then I met Nat, Ben's dad, who one day last April brought Ben home without his shoes. He had no idea where the shoes went and as far as I know, he never found them.

So if you see a pair of kids shoes, 12/13 Geox green, those are Ben's.

kathy a. said...

have a great weekend!

the ones of clothing pairs always make me wonder -- so does the occasional necktie on the sidewalk. not quite as much as the time or 2 i saw abandoned pants, though. maybe my imagination is too active.

Anjali said...

Same to you!

Kelley said...

My weird and wonderful mind makes up stories about lone shoes and discarded items of clothing and toys on the side of the road.

And the child always has red hair.

I wonder why...

Julia said...

As I type this I am also making a desperate attempt at saving my favorite black sandal by gluing the strap that tore. JD thinks it's hopeless, and I think it probably is, but I love that pair, and so the attempt is being made. It's currently under the weight press and will remain thus for another hour at least until I can see if it worked at all.

We still have cassette tapes, in our basement. We have been talking about getting one of those devices that are supposed to be handy for digitizing the contents. Anyone's guess about what happens to the tapes after we are done saving the contents...

Kyddryn said...

When I see a single shoe, I often wonder about its absent owner. Sometimes, if I'm feeling whimsical, I make up a story about how the person lost their shoe.

Teddy-bears and other stuffed animals always bring on a sadness - I wonder if a child won't sleep that night in their hotel room or new home, if they tearfully ask, over and over, where "Binky" is, if they are inconsolable. Did a sibling toss the toy? Was the child holding it up to let it see the sights?

I still have cassettes. Many of them...a box load or two. I remember seeing tapes fluttering along the side of the road, and sometimes thought I could stop, rescue them, untangle the Gordian knows and wind them back onto the spools, listen to what cause offense, maybe even go and toss them out again myself if they were truly awful. I never did it, but I wondered.

In my library, I have a small box full of reel-to-reel tapes that are my Mum's - she doesn't have a player any more and wanted to toss them, but I couldn't bear the thought of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band going out that way, so I claimed them for my own, despite the fact that I have no player for them and likely never will. I loved watching the tapes turn slowly 'round while they played, when I was a child.

I have seen a CD beside the road, winking from the grassy verge. I wonder what happens when the mowers run them over? Little shards of silvered-rainbow song scattered through the green, odd fertilizer bringing about strange fruit. I often hope it's not one of my band's CDs, sent sailing out a window to hover against the blue before crashing down into ignominy.

Sometimes I see clothing- a shirt, a jacket, blue jeans. How do they end up there, slowly mouldering?

One shoe, alone by the road...missing its mate? Perhaps the pair was purchased by a one-legged woman. There should be a shoe-exchange for one legged people who only need the left or the right - bring in the one you don't need and sell it here. They could have socks, branch out into gloves, and mittens, too. Or would that be going too far??

Shade and Sweetwater,
K, who was so afraid of losing things out the car window as a child that she wouldn't hold them up unless the window was completely shut

Kyddryn said...

That should have said "...Gordian KNOTS...", not "...knows" Dang.

Julie McCoy said...

how funny. as we drove home last night from eileen's birthday, i also spotted a lone shoe and had the same questions. hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend. i am still recovering from my past weekend....

niobe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
niobe said...

A Shoe Story With a Happy Ending
(edited to correct typos)

I thought I had lost one of my shoes in Nova Scotia. I looked and looked, but I could only find the left-hand (foot?) shoe of the pair. When I got home, it turned out that I had never packed the right-hand one to begin with.