Two weeks ago the morning bus was overcrowded, so I found myself standing in the aisle. The guy in the seat next to me kept looking at my feet and then glancing at my face. I resolutely pretended not to notice him, assuming that he was just irked that I was standing so close. I was all, like, “Yo: I’m the one who got stuck standing, so what the hell is your problem?! It’s public transportation you selfish moron — if you don’t like it, drive your hummer to work like your asshole friends!” Of course I said all this in a silence, seething, internal-monologue kind of way.
Later, after arriving at my place of business and entering the elevator, a woman darted into the car just as the doors were closing. She jabbed the button for her floor, glanced at my feet, and shot me a quizzical look. I wasn’t sure what that was all about, but as people in elevators are meant to be ignored I paid her no further mind.
The elevator stopped at the second floor and another woman boarded. She took one glance at my feet and said “Can I ask you something?”
“Suuuuure ….” I replied warily.
“Why are you wearing two different shoes?”
I knew the reason even before looking. That morning I had put on my “mowing shoes” (i.e., the old pair that I don’t care about) before sneaking into the neighbor’s yard to plant fake election signs. Upon reentering the house I had kicked them off so as to not track mud on the carpet, and they had come to rest right next to my “work shoes” (i.e., the only pair I own respectable enough to be worn to the office). Then, running late, having squandered much of my morning on practical jokery, I scurried around the house grabbing my things, hastily “put on my shoes” in the entryway, and sprinted out the door.
The thing is, I don’t really “put on my shoes” — a busy guy like me doesn’t have time for formalities like “bending over” and “tying laces.” What I typically do is cram my feet into the already-tied shoes, do a few ankle-twists, and complete the donning process with a couple of hearty stomps as I walk away. It never occurred to me that, in a harried and pre-caffinated state, this method might result in my sticking a left foot into one shoe and another foot into a similar-looking but different right shoe.
[When telling this story to friends, The Queen interupts at this point and helpfully interjects: “Actually, the two shoes aren’t similar in the least. One is practically a boot.” Thanks, hon.]
And sure enough: As I stood in the elevator and looked down, I discovered myself clad in one “mowing shoe” and one “work shoe.”
But then, something inexplicable happened. Speaking immediately, and looking the woman right in the eye, I said, “Oh — heh heh, yeah. See, I’m wearing these because the other set is in my office.”
The other set is in my — what the hell does that mean?! More importantly, where did it come from? I haven’t the foggiest notion. But it must have sounded convincing., because the woman looked chagrined and quickly replied “Oh … right,” followed by a little “duh — I should have figured that out” laugh.
A few seconds later we arrived at my floor, and I exited as quickly as my heteroshod feet could take me.