I know I'm not the only one out there who's seen them. I know they don't just suddenly appear for my eyes alone, and I know they're there for a reason and I'd like to think it's a non-morbid and rather amusing one.
I'm talking about highway shoes. And it's not a fancy term for banked corners or fast onramps or even a tricky traffic manoeuvre. I literally mean the random single shoes left lying on the sides of highways.
Sneakers, slippers, high heels, flip-flops; I've seen them all. Mostly I see men's shoes. Or, they usually look to be adult-male sized. A spousal argument while driving home from work that lead Mrs. Smith to get so enraged she reached down and yanked Mr. Smith's wingtip off his foot and chucked it out the window?
Every so often I spot a child's shoe and it makes my heart ache a little as I wonder: How did it get there? Did Timmy have a fight with his little sister and throw her shoe out the window, or did something else happen? Something I don't want to think about.
I don't see anything else littering the highway, save for tire
remnants or sometimes bits of bumper or other vehicle shrapnel. Shoes seem to be the only “human” paraphernalia that makes its way onto the freeway.
And it's never a pair. This is also something else I've noticed: I've yet to spot a pair of shoes, even a distance apart. There's always just one. A lonely, single shoe (that often looks quite dirty and roughed up), sitting sadly by the side as cars rush by. How is that we always seem to lose lone objects? Why can't we ever misplace both? It would make it so much easier as we wouldn't be left with the remaining teammate to deal with.
Even if I take a moment to think of the worst, why do those who clean up accident scenes not feel the need to pick up lone shoes? Is it a means of reminding drivers what could happen if they don't pay attention on the road
? A subtle message we all subconsciously get as we spot the single sneaker left behind after the three-car pile-up from that morning: Drive carefully or all that could be left of you is your right shoe.
I'd like to envision highway shoes appearing in the same fashion as socks disappear in the washing machine.
You know that flip-flop was in the entrance yesterday, but where the hell is it now? Unbeknownst to you, it snuck out the front door and is making a bid for freedom, clutching to your front driver wheel-well, waiting for the perfect opportunity to jump free and start its hitchhiking journey across our great nation.
Yes, that must be what happens.