The Barefoot Man
There's a guy in Mount Nabor who never wears shoes, even in the fall and winter. If its really frigid out, he'll wear sandals, and maybe socks if there's snow on the ground.
I first noticed him after we moved here and Lulu and I were grocery shopping. She was only two and exclaimed, "Mommy, that man isn't wearing shoes!'' I didn't believe her since it was late October, but I looked up and saw the barefoot man in the frozen food aisle.
It turned out he lives down the street from us. I don't know his name or anything about him, really, other than the fact that he doesn't wear shoes and he has a daughter and son who don't go to Mount Nabor School. I guess they're home schooled, maybe because of the school's footwear policy (which sucks: kids can't wear sandals without socks!)
The Barefoot Man's children used to sometimes wear regular shoes, but Regis saw them last week--on a cold day--and both the dad and son, who's in his early teens, weren't wearing shoes. The daughter was wearing sneakers. (Was she rebelling against the dad? )
I consider myself an open-minded person. I like nudists--though I don't know any personally, I like the idea of nudists--and I try to raise my kids to feel comfortable with their bodies, but the barefoot man really irks me.
Why this stubborn resistance to shoes? Did he have some kind of skin condition or something?
I Googled "barefoot'' and found The Society for Barefoot Living. This explained everything:
"We are a group of people who love going barefoot as a lifestyle choice. We enjoy walking barefoot as nature intended, taking delight in feeling the many textures the world has to offer, like having tough, calloused soles, and even think it's cool to get them dirty... Shoes are unnecessary ballast!''
In their "mission statement,'' they touted the "support group'' they formed to help one another in a "shod world.''
Their goal was promoting "barefoot acceptance...regaining the freedom our parents and grandparents had to go barefoot anywhere.''
The Barefoot people presented themselves as a persecuted minority, but they were oddly childlike in their defiance. And why this false nostalgia for the days when supposedly everyone went barefoot? People didn't wear shoes in November at the turn of the century?
There was also an element of fetishism among the Barefooters, as evidenced in a posting from "dizmizlizzy,'' who listed her "interests'' as "anklets, baby feet, bare feet, big feet, clean feet, dirty feet, girl feet, guy feet, happy feet, heels, toe jam...'' The list went on.
I admit that as a child, I loved going barefoot in the summer and was proud of the fact that by September, my feet were so tough I could walk across gravel driveways and it didn't hurt.
And yes, when I was really young, footsie pajamas made my feet feel imprisoned. I wouldn't wear them unless my mom cut off the footsies.
Is this why I hate the Barefoot man? Because my own feet are longing to be free?
No. Because in the fall and winter, I like wearing shoes, dammit. And when I grew up, I started wearing flip-flops in the summer--and it wasn't so bad!
Why can't the Barefoot Man just put on some snow boots and cut it out?