Lost in Suburbia classic column: If the shoe fits, lose it
“Honey, have you seen my shoes?” asked my husband as he wandered around the family room, peering under furniture.
“Which ones?” I responded.
“My brown boots.”
I touched my temple and closed my eyes. “Hmmm. I can see them. Yes, they are coming into focus. They are … under the kitchen table!” My eyes popped open and I smiled.
“How do you do that?” he wondered as he walked off to reclaim his missing shoes.
“What can I say? It’s a gift.”
“Yeah, well, just make sure you use your powers for good, not evil,” he yelled over his shoulder.
The question, really, wasn’t where were his shoes? The question was, where weren’t they? He routinely had a pair of discarded shoes in every room of the house, and for the life of him, could never remember where he had left them. I could. It was hard to miss them. And yet he could walk right by a pair and not see them at all.
I realized the issue wasn’t his memory. It was that my husband had a massive case of Hysterical Shoe Blindness.
I wondered if maybe he’d had some kind of shoe trauma as a young child that caused him to block out the sight of his shoes as an adult. Maybe a freak tornado swept through his house and sucked up all his shoes. Or perhaps a shoe thief snuck into the house and took any shoes that had been left out in the open, leaving my husband utterly shoeless. Whatever had befallen him in his shoe youth, he was now condemned to a life of shoe location issues.
Although I sympathized with his problem, I had to admit, it also irked me. When I wasn’t tripping over his errant shoes or stubbing my toe on a wayward boot, I was having to help him find his shoes so he would not go off to work in his slippers. Admittedly, I had been known to relocate various family belongings when they were dumped in places they didn’t belong. But in my husband’s case it really wouldn’t matter if I moved his shoes or not. If he couldn’t find them where he left them, he wouldn’t find them if I put them where they belonged either.
“I have a novel idea,” I said to him. “Whenever you come home, take off your shoes and leave them by the front door. If you do this everyday, I bet you will be able to find them pretty easily the next time you want to wear them.”
“OK,” he agreed sullenly.
For one week, my husband made sure to leave his shoes in the same place at the same time, everyday. By the second week, it seemed to have become a habit and by the third week, he had stopped asking my help in finding his shoes.
“Honey, I think we fixed your shoe problem!” I said gleefully.
As we celebrated his freedom from Shoe Blindness, I heard a shout from upstairs.
“Mom,” yelled my son. “Have you seen my sneakers?”
This is a repeated Lost in Suburbia column, which has appeared in GateHouse Media newspapers since 2008. As Tracy Beckerman’s main column is shifting focus - her kids are grown and she has moved back to the city - we are rerunning her earlier work for readers who may have missed these the first time around. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tracybeckerman.