Saturday, July 23, 2005

Please Remove Your Shoes

I grew up in a a very old farmhouse on Silver Bell road. When we first moved there, I was 4 or 5 and the house was on a dirt road. By the time we moved out of the dilapidated house I was 16 and the road had turned to a four lane monster that I could no longer cross or ride my bike on.

I really hated that house. Nothing you did to it could ever make it look nice. It was always dark and dingey inside due to poor lighting. And no matter what color paint we put on the walls, or the type of carpeting on the floors it never seemed to be clean.

However that didn't stop us from trying. Every Saturday seemed to be cleaning day. Whether it was some task outside like "policing" the yard [i.e. picking up fallen sticks and branches from the very numerous trees], or all day dusting, cleaning the woodwork, and washing windows. We cleaned and scrubbed.

I suppose that in some way, it did make a difference. It elevated us from our surroundings, and at least my parents cared.

However, there was one rule in that particular house I never understood...which was to remove your shoes at the door. Anyone coming in may ask the same question given the state of our carpeting...but remove the shoes was an unbudgeable rule.

For the rest of my step father's family it was completely understandable. They lived in very nice homes that had rooms "just for show" that held "collections". If you walked into the house with shoes on you were literally yelled, pointed, and stared at until said offense was corrected...and this was even in rooms that were not carpeted.

Regardless, it is a training that has been ingrained into me, and so now I actually feel strange wearing shoes inside. I suppose that this served me well when living in Japan, as I had to take my shoes off to go into the restaurants and the dressing rooms.

But I have begun to realize that not very many people employ this rule in the U.S. At least no one I know personally, and not to the extent of beheading as it was in my family growing up. And so, unfortunately they have heard me say on several occassions "please remove your shoes at the door"...

I am sure that they are annoyed. Perhaps they think I am being pushy...because when it comes down to it, there is real no polite way to ask. And I personally cringe inside whenever I have to say something about removing the shoes before coming too far inside the house. And believe me, I HAVE to say something. Why? Because something inside me becomes very uncomfortable watching people walk across the carpet with shoes on. And if I do it I feel I am breaking a law or something.

It is funny, because immediately after I ask a guest to remove their shoes, my husband is right behind me saying that it isn't really a big deal we just have the dog and well, he goes on to make some strange and incomprehensible excuse for my anal retentiveness.

All in all, I suppose it really isn't a big deal. And probably would be less of a deal if our townhouse wasn't outfitted with cream colored carpeting which is nearly impossible to clean.

But I think that it is something that will not change. Perhaps it is the thought that goo [or worse] is on the bottom of those shoes just waiting to be carried across my floor and ground into my carpet.

I guess I am a freak because I find joy in seeing the neat row of shoes that our friends make when they come to visit. I have such satisfaction that they respect that request. Now if I could just get my husband to do the same.


At 06:37, Blogger Fin said...

We strongly hold to the "please remove your shoes" rule as well. When it was just a matter of having to scrub the goo and other unthinkable matters from the carpeting, it wasn't such an issue. But now that my daughter frolics on that self-same carpeting... well, it's a much stronger case.


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