Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Barefoot in the city?

As a child, I loved to run outside directly following a rainstorm and splash in the puddles in the crisp, post-rainstorm air, barefoot naturally. As my age increased, my love of walking outside in the soft green grass in the summer with no shoes remained, and even sometimes I would relish the feeling of wet sand squishing between my toes at the beach. But this was all in the country, in places where going barefoot was acceptable and rather safe, excepting the occasional sharp rock that poked my foot. The rule of "no shirt, no shoes, no service" in public is common knowledge in the United States, and if you don't know it, it's posted on the doors of most convenience stores and other shops. And honestly, I don't know of anyone who would really want to walk around on hot, dirty pavement or into stores with no shoes...but here there seem to be plenty of people who incredibly do have a taste for walking around on hot, dirty pavement littered with broken glass. Is it religion? Is it some sort of test of will? I can't imagine that it's pleasurable, but it seems like each summer there are more and more people hitting the sidewalks and the gravelly paths in the park without shoes. And it's not like the sidewalks of Dresden-Neustadt are any cleaner or less hot than sidewalks elsewhere, it's likely that the opposite is true. Here's just a sample of some of the delicacies you can find on the sidewalks here: all forms of dog waste, broken glass, vomit, unfinished meals that people just drop, dirty diapers, prophylactics (used and unused), assorted fireworks, German flags... Plus, these people are not just hitting the streets shoeless, they venture into stores lacking footwear as well. Amazingly, they are not sent away, they are allowed to go about their shopping, tracking their foot and street germs everywhere. A former boss of mine back in Beaverton accosted a small child in a supermarket who was not wearing shoes, and forced the child's mother to put her in the shopping cart, because not only is it dangerous for a child to be walking around a supermarket with no shoes where perhaps some jar broke and there's still a tiny shard of glass on the floor just waiting for a tender little foot, it's dangerous for the supermarket as well because they could get sued for the injury to the child. Here people really do get injured on the sidewalks, even though they can see the giant shards of broken beer bottle on the sidewalk from the night before, but they never seem to learn. I've seen more than one person here on crutches with a bandaged foot from stepping on a piece of glass. Plus, don't feet turn to incredibly unappealing leather-like appendages when not protected by shoes? I guess I just don't get the whole barefoot in the city thing.
If you've made it this far into this blog entry, you can participate in a contest! My first Remember White Rabbit contest! Tell me who the person in the picture with this post is in a comment. If you're right, Little Wee the bunny might let you pet her tilted head.


Patrick Frank said...

Obviously, that's Leif Garrett. Gorgeous, pre-prison girlman Leif Garrett.

Go to to see what ravages time has wrought.

Little Willy said...

Excellent work, Patrick! You win the grand prize, you can come and pet Wee the bunny! When would you like to collect your winnings?