The week before I left for my current trip to Kauai, a lonely hiking boot appeared on the street corner outside my office:
Since temperatures were in the single digits that week, it seemed unlikely its owner succumbed to an overwhelming urge to stroll barefoot around downtown Bend, Oregon. Even if that were the case, why remove only one boot?
I watched the boot for a few days, wondering if its owner would come back to reclaim it. The day before I flew to Hawaii, the boot made a mystery migration into an adjacent tree:
Was this someone's effort to make the boot easier for its owner to spot? An attempt at whimsy? A signal to visiting aliens that we are here and have cold feet?
I didn't give it a lot of thought, probably because my thoughts were already occupied by visions of sun, sand, and shirtless men bringing me tropical drinks while telling me how much they loved reading Making Waves.
The first day I arrived on Kauai, I learned my mother has a new hobby. Though I've heard it's common for retired people to develop new interests, I always assumed this meant golf or scrapbooking.
My mom has been taking pictures of lonely, abandoned flip flops:
I'm not sure whether I'm more intrigued by the fact that my mother and I have been fixating on abandoned footwear 2,600 miles apart, or the fact that the footwear is being abandoned in the first place.
I understand the occasional dropped shoe in a locker room, or even on a beach, but a flip flop in the parking lot of a golf course? A hiking boot on a frozen, downtown street corner?
Are there hundreds of people out there walking around with only one shoe? Is there a zombie with a foot fetish roaming the globe snatching footwear from unsuspecting pedestrians? Is there a charity that offers footwear to people missing a leg? If so, I'd like to know about it.
I'd also love to know your theories about where these single shoes are coming from. Please share!
In the meantime, I'll be walking around Kauai barefoot as often as possible. I'm not taking any chances with that shoe fetish zombie.