Thursday, January 17, 2008

If the shoe doesn’t fit

The things you see in the road these days. It makes one think, as we travel the highways, what goes through a person’s mind to make them discard, at will, items they no longer wish to keep inside the vehicle.

Granted, it’s pretty obvious when you see a baseball cap on the roadside, it is because the previous owner had the window down too far. Or, perhaps they were riding in a convertible with the top down and a gust of wind took the chapeau into orbit. Or, even being just plain tired of giving that losing ball team free advertising, the litterbug gives the cap a toss.

Items of clothing litter the shoulders and grassy berms on many highways around the country and lately, I have noticed even more than usual amounts strewn along I-95. From New York to Florida, it could be a ragpicker’s dream and there are two explanations.

First, it’s Snowbird Season and those who hate the cold are armed with money, campers and motel reservations, heading for the sun. It happens every year, so there is a predictable amount of tourist traffic.

The second reason, which is tied into the first, is that many folks do not know how to secure cargo to the roofs of their vehicles. If you have been lucky enough to have dodged an airborne suitcase, a plastic ski rack (with skis) and even a bass boat that had gone airborne from its trailer as I have, you know what I mean.

We see it every day. People buy a pack of cheap bungee cords from a discount store and expect miracles at 70 mph.

But that’s not what really intrigues me. What I have never been able to figure out is the “One Shoe Theory.”

Ride down the road and all of a sudden there will be a shoe in the middle of the road. Why? Did the previous owner just look down and say, “Hey! I don’t want this shoe anymore” and kick it to the heavens and it wound up on the zipper? And what about the other shoe? Do they go through the rest of the day wearing only one shoe?

I have never seen a second shoe on the road, (and believe me, I have looked) so it must have gone somewhere. If you go home with only one shoe, you know you will be asked what happened to the other shoe.

This is a dilemma that has plagued mankind for ages and it is not restricted to any one area. The wilds of Wyoming on I-80, where you really need both shoes, to the mean streets of New York. The lone PF Flyer or the stray Florsheim, lying on the asphalt highway, sole to the sun, wondering where its mate has gone.

My guess would be Miami South Beach, where shoes are optional.