It is remarkably easy to get back into the habit of wearing shoes. After months of going barefoot I found it really uncomfortable and odd to wear shoes again but I was left with no choice since most of the places I regularly visited on a daily basis made shoes mandatory for no good reason. I go barefoot here and there when it is possible but now I am back into the habit of putting on shoes every time I leave my house and often find myself wearing shoes while going places where shoes are not required just out of habit. We had a cold snap recently too where I ended up wearing hikers and socks instead of just sandals as it was often wet and only a few degrees above zero.
It seems the experiment is well and truly over. I very much enjoyed and still enjoy going barefoot whenever possible but the irritation of being hassled about it and the inconvenience of limiting my destinations makes it largely more trouble than it is worth. Since the last time I wrote about this I have had a few interesting encounters and I will share them here.
I was walking down the street barefoot with Elli who was also barefoot. She finds it incredibly entertaining to go barefoot in the city and for a long time was insisting on doing so everywhere when I was around since her mom largely made her wear her shoes. I was accosted on the street by a couple of gentlemen with a Indian subcontinent kind of look to them who were positively jovial at seeing us walking around barefoot. They talked about how wonderful going barefoot was, how they loved feeling connected to the earth and how it reminded them of home. I asked where home was and they told me they come from Afghanistan where people go barefoot all the time and it is considered entirely normal to do. They were wearing shoes, whether to fit in, to follow somebody's rules or for some other reason but they sure seemed to think that we were the best thing around. I don't generally use terms like 'connected to the earth' since they have a strong spiritual overtone that I don't agree with but I am sure the source of the sentiment is the same.
I was in Elli's classroom dropping her off on a very rainy day and another parent, myself and her teachers were talking about how kids love to jump in puddles. The other parent commented that jumping in puddles is something only someone under the age of 10 would ever want to do. I corrected him and told him that I love jumping in puddles and playing in streams of water in the rain and he should try it some day. In particular I recommended running through the city streets barefoot during a warm summer shower and following rivulets of water down the street to where they finally vanish underground. He looked at me as if I was suggesting ritual murder, politely said he would consider trying that and left rapidly. While I am sure that some adults really don't want to jump in puddles I think there are an awful lot that do have a desperate urge to play in small trickels of water, to splash in them, dam them up and watch the dam break. Mostly they resist that urge for various reasons, though I think it would do them good to ignore those reasons for awhile and plunge right in.