This is the second of two “awkwardly abroad” posts. Did you see the first?
PSA Take 1: This may not come off so much as a confession to awkward-weirdness, as much as a very concerned Public Safely Announcement.
Roll cameras. Ahemmmm. Outside? In the wilderness of paved roads, smooth sidewalks, classrooms, and malls, there is a danger. (Dramatic pause). There are many dangers to speak of, actually. Poop is one of them. Yes, poop. Phlem, spit, your general grossness. Some things sail around, microscopic and untold.
Some things only forensics could see. Some grossness is big enough that you lunge for your toddlers to disgustedly step over. I have, ladies and gentleman, stepped over many a pee-stream. Some from dogs, some from grown men, after their many Saturday night beers. I know. It’s revolting. And yet,…many of us wear our shoes inside. Why, oh why?? This is the part where you concentrate on what you can change–what serenity you do have control over. It’s your shoes. I didn’t used to be such a germaphobe. I blame it on moving to the far East, namely, to Japan. I was likened to Carrie Bradshaw, pre-shoes-off-inside-awakening, in one fabulous episode of Sex in the City, when she was directed to take off her shoes at a party.
The gifts go over on the table and the shoes go there. Oh. Kyra and Chuck don’t like outside dirt coming in. The twins are always picking things up off the floor. But this is an outfit… Good thing I wore my party socks. Gees, If I’d known I was gonna be shoeless, I would have compensated with a big hat or something. Okay. Well, now I’m so teeny I might bump my head on the coffee table. Watch out ‘Little Me’.
Later, someone tramps off with Carrie’s shoes, which are Manolos, of course. I am now that woman, asking you “Mmmkkkayyy?” with a lipstick-on-the-teeth-smile, directing you to take of your shoes in my house, while I nod my head as a final Jedi-mindtrick meets kindergarten teacher meets flight attendent command.
Okay, shoes have come off. Not sooo bad, right? Not really awkward, right? The environment supports it, teaches it. Nothing new to see here, folks. Here, when you go to a house party, you must wade through the dozens of shoes at the door, on tiptoe, lest you step on someone’s. There is no wearing those hot new black and perfect-gold pumps to show off and make you stand feeling fun-sexy-awesome. Not inside, anyway. Nope, you get to feel a bit short and squat. (Ladies, we all know how the right heel is transformative).
But…put me on a plane and fly me back to any-state, America, and I will be your fifth grade door patrol and shoe-hall monitor. I will be retching with discomfort as you walk through (even your own home’s) hallways or recline on a couch. I will order you, please please, fling off those shoes. Do it for the general good. Do it for everything right and decent and clean still in this world. I know it’s annoying. Rather, I’m annoying. I’ve been changed, I know. And if you are wearing your shoes in the house, well, then I have to also, don’t I? Because I surely cannot walk around bare foot, on a walk of zen, underfoot the filth that is rubbing off onto the Berber or Spanish tile with your every step. It’s a call to make peace. We both need to decide what kind of home or party this will be. Let’s be a pair of shoes…sitting, parked near the front door, please??
Until then, I wil be so annoying (I do not mean to be, promise). Every time we watch even a MOMENT of TV, I will call-out every family wearing their shoes in the house. I will drown-out the loving peace with my rants and nausea over seeing sitcom teens donning tennies on the couch. “Why are their parents okay with this?” I will screech! Add you will say, “Because this is normal, you awkward thing going through reverse culture shock.” And I will ask you to just please even just consider wearing brown paper bags as socks.