There are a lot of tangible things missing from my life: a watch; my favourite over the knee black kid patchwork boots by the Wild Pair; most of my make up.
The second things disappeared en route in or from a container ship between Glasgow and Sydney. I lament their loss constantly despite the fact that everyone else thought I looked like a principal boy in those boots. The first and third things are lost due to Minx intervention – tomorrow no doubt I will find my eye liner in the fruit bowl or my lipstick in the cutlery drawer next to my tampons. Small children are like magpies, they lift and drop things at their arses with a kind of insouciant precision. The child will be able to retrieve the dropped article from a pile of detritus, but I have Buckley’s chance. I hereby vow therefore that my daughter is never EVER getting Barbie dolls. Who needs to be on eBay looking for replacement little shoes?
Losing things is not fun. Losing shoes is an absolute nightmare. My friend “A” used to lose her shoes regularly. She hated dancing in them & would kick her stilettos off into random corners of the room at nightclubs. Then at 3.30 am she and I would be on our hands and knees looking for her footwear before we tried to find a taxi home. It used to drive me bonkers but eventually we’d find her footwear and by that time we’d sobered up. Sobriety is always a good thing when trying to sneak quietly into ones parents’ house at 5 am.
A lost shoe is a truly dejected thing. There are even websites and Facebook fan pages dedicated to Lost Shoes. I have seen many, many lost shoes out there but generally they are trainers or flip flops.
Before today I had never lost a shoe. Have you ever wondered why or how someone could end up missing one shoe? There is an abundance of theories out there including:
1. The Container Overboard Theory
On May 27, 1990, a storm struck the container ship Hansa Carrier in the north Pacific (48 degrees N, 161 W), resulting in two containers being lost overboard with 80,000 Nike brand shoes inside. These shoes were washed up and subsequently strewn throughout North America, Canada and Alaska.
In 1992, a flotilla of 29,000 bath toys escaped from 11 containers that fell off a cargo vessel in the North Pacific near the International Dateline. It took 15 years for the rubber ducks to reach British shores. Eric Carle abridged the story in his 2005 picture book 10 Little Rubber Ducks
In 2010 my wee niece is taking a bath with what could theoretically be two of the missing ducks.
2. The Shoes on Top of the Car Theory
Apparently people leave things on top of their cars frequently. Like cups of coffee, house keys, small dogs in pink handbags and spare pairs of shoes. These things are then sucked off and deposited at random by the road side.
3. The Drunken Four Point Crawling Shoe Loss Theory
This is my husband’s personal favourite.
It is a hot sticky night and you are on holiday. You are drinking strange cheap cocktails that in other circumstances you would sneer at. At the end of the evening, you are so drunk and sunburned that you decide that walking on two legs is dangerous and are therefore shuffling on all fours. From here you either pass out and are carried home by friends or loved ones or wake up in Accident & Emergency. Either way, the next morning you have ingrained dirt under your fingers, unexplained bruises, (surprisingly) no hangover and a missing shoe. There is a blog dedicated to women who lose shoes on a Night Out in this manner.
4. The Children Drive You Beyond Distraction Theory
It is 7.30 am. I have an 90 minutes to get:
- both children dressed in weather appropriate clothing;
- the Minx to daycare without causing a scene;
- the Noisy Boy to school in time for toast;
- some makeup on to cover my spots (The Lowest Common Denominator Beauty Regime); and
- myself on a swiftish train to Central Station and from there to work with a caffeine stop en route.
This usually works reasonably well provided that I started barking mantra like orders from 6.30 am on e.g. ‘get your knickers on’ ‘put your lunch in your bag’ ‘wipe the pee off the toilet seat!’ On a rainy day, however, getting my weans ready to leave home is an even more mysterious and debilitating process than frying chips on a humid Sydney summer day.
A cloud could go past the house at a crucial stage and throw my calculations right off. On this pishy wet day it my children are fighting energetically with each other. Instead of focussing solely on an efficient absquatulation strategy I instead commence a cause and effect audit. Did I:
- give the Noisy Boy his breakfast muffin before I gave the Minx her cup of hot milk;
- give the Minx her muffin before or after she got dressed; or
- get them out of bed the wrong side?
Idly I wonder whether it would be possible to outsource getting my children ready and off to school to some Pay By the Hour au pair agency.
Meantime, the Minx has managed to get her gum boots on but nothing else.
After a bit of yelling, some swearing and a lot of wrestling, I get the Minx entirely dressed. She then decides that her boots no longer match her outfit. She flounces off to her room yelling ‘no like clothes mummy‘ over her shoulder. She returns with a different outfit in which I dress her. She soils her nappy. I undress and redress her. She insists that she wants her white sandals. We can only find one sandal.
Meantime the Noisy Boy is berating me about our umbrellas. “There is only one Mickey Mouse umbrella” he says “and I want it“. “NO I WANT IT” shrieks the Minx more out of habit than intent. I negotiate a mutually acceptabe settlement outcome – the Noisy Boy gets the Mickey Mouse umbrella, the Minx gets the girly pink golf umbrella.
By this time my comfortable 90 minute window has shrunk to 65 minutes.
When we leave the house (6o minutes to go) I am close to tears. The golf umbrella that the Minx is carrying is too big to allow her to walk down the stairs from the front door. She gets caught, stuck tight. Cue hysterical sobbing. She sits down and takes her sandals off. I now have 50 minutes to get to work.
You get the picture.
Miraculously, I get to work on time. I open my bag to change into my dry shoes.
There is only one shoe in my bag.
Apparently, if you dream that you lose your shoes, you are searching for your identity and finding yourself. If you do actually lose your shoes it is a horribly discombobulating experience.
The moment that I realised that I was missing a Fluevog I felt like someone had wrenched my intestines out through my throat. Losing a credit card would be inconvenient, losing jewellery or a mobile phone briefly annoying. Losing shoes IS losing part of me – I was gutted.
Carol Duncan was sympathetic:
I sent her a picture of the missing shoes. She told me more about her missing Fluevogs.
I then wandered back out in the rain towards Central Station. The rain was stoating off the pavements joyously by now. My eye make up was running as I went into the Lost Property Department. “They won’t show up in here for at least a week love, try the Station Master” they said, kindly.
I flung myself at the Station Master who had much more important things to do, sobbing and telling him my shoes’ life history. How I’d waited patiently for them on eBay since Alison Young had blogged about her Fluevogs, how I’d found them via a French seller and lucked out in an auction because French people probably don’t like Canadian shoes and the English speaking world doesn’t like having to read French.
‘Those must be really expensive shoes‘ he said in a break between my verbal carrying on ‘how did you come to lose only one?‘
It’s a fair question which Fender4Eva had already answered:
Men don’t generally get the whole bringing a good pair of shoes with you in a bag to avoid weather damage concept. But then men don’t usually get the need to have more than three pairs of shoes concept either. I realised as I considered my answer that I had become the shoe lovers equivalent of Paris Hilton – carrying my shoes instead of a pooch in a clutch. “I just didn’t want them to get wet” I said more pathetically than I intended to. There was a pause. “I’ll be sure to let you know if they come in” he said in that tone that policemen use for old ladies reporting UFO sightings.
With that I went back to the office and bided my time. I had images of my shoe sitting by the roadside, slowly being ruined by rain water and dog pee. I couldn’t think about anything else.
My boss showed me photos of her aged between 3 and 10 wearing 70s ruffles and in the bare scud to cheer me up. Someone bought me chocolate. Someone sent me a NSFW shoe-mail.
Eventually after 6 hours of making buttons and drafting nasty cathartic letters to other lawyers, my husband called.
“I’ve found your shoe” he said “It’s in the hall“.
And there it remained until I returned home, a reminder to keep my shoes close to my person and not to sweat the small stuff. Until tomorrow that is. Any au pairs out there?