Mittwoch, 13. November 2013

The attack has begun!! Shoe Monsters are on the loose again!

Well, it had to happen... according to my personal rule, when it comes to office footwear, I'm usually wearing flip-flops as minimal shoes at work, as soon as temperatures pass the 10°C (50F) mark. Of course, "socially acceptable" would be to wear closed shoes all the time, even though we're not a suit-and-tie place. Furthermore, our CEO and the bigwigs give me a little leeway due to my local "barefoot celebrity" status...

However, with temperatures now, in November, dropping into the range below 10°C (the 40s F), I am now going to do something I don't like at all: conforming.

While walking barefoot is clearly the better choice, for fun, pleasure, wellness, health and spiritual reasons, mainstream society expects me to do, what is "normal" in their eyes. From a practical point of view, shoes only have a purpose and function, when acting as a means of protection against extreme conditions, such as frost or in hazardous environments. I wouldn't work barefoot in a steel mill, for instance. And as far as cool or cold conditions are concerned, I know my personal limits and take precautions to ensure safe barefooting in them, too:


All other "requirements" to wear shoes are purely of social nature, acting totally against the natural function of human feet. In our western thinking, wearing shoes is a sign of adhering to the benefits of "civilization" and someone walking barefoot is most often (and wrongly) associated with being uncivilized, poor, homeless, etc.

In case you wish to know more about the benefits as well as the historic, social, spiritual/religious, artistic and recreational implications of walking barefoot, have a look at the very well-composed Wikipedia article with the topic "Barefoot":

You will also find several myths busted there, which still exist mostly in the USA (such as driving a motor vehicle barefoot is illegal or barefoot customers are forbidden by law to enter shops, restaurants, etc.).

So, following the aforementioned stupid social expectations, instead of packing my light-weight flip-flops today, I have packed my closed Birkenstocks to wear at work. From their appearance, it's quite clear, why many barefooters call shoes "foot coffins". The second reason for that nickname is what shoes do to feet: they make them smell (in some cases, really bad, too). OK, to be precise, the process is as follows: feet get very warm inside closed shoes, start sweating, bacteria (which love dark, damp and warm places) breed, crack up and digest the organic components in the sweat and leave that typical, cheesy smell behind. This is what most often happens to shod feet. Hence the common misconception, that feet in general are smelly.

Now, what happens, aromatically, when you don't wear shoes and walk barefoot? Nothing. Any perspiration will evaporate and leave nothing behind that could produce the evil and rotten stench of foot coffins. Bare feet smell of nothing but the skin of Mama Earth.

In order to reduce the danger of bad smell, I have prepared my office Birkenstocks with cinnamon-filled inlay soles. Hopefully, my feet will smell only of gingerbread, when I release them from the unpractical and unhealthy social prison known as shoes after work.

Thinking about the commonplace aromatic effects of wearing shoes and the brand name of mine, I have come up with a new nickname for them:


May the cold season be brief and warmer times ahead soon, so that I can wiggle my toes freely all the time again!

(To be honest, as soon as I'm sitting at my desk, the foot coffins come off, and I am actually wiggling my toes, just as I'm writing this.)

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