Tuesday, February 15, 2005
A post-Valentine's Day tale
There are over two million stories in my home city of Houston — and this is one of them, albeit a small one.
I just returned from a quick trip to the neighborhood convenience store. On the sidewalk outside its door lay a single left shoe — an expensive, name-brand athletic shoe, sized to fit a toddler of perhaps three, with Velcro closers, reflective strips, etc. Almost brand new.
No toddlers, lopsided or otherwise, inside or outside the store. None in any of the waiting cars getting gas or parked in the lot. Looks of blank incomprehension in response to my repeated question — "You gotta kid who's lost a shoe?"
What can ya do, but push it over a little farther from the curb and closer to the door, hoping it'll be visible if someone comes back for it?
But I can see the rest of the story clearly: Earlier tonight, or perhaps later or tomorrow morning, some mom is frowning at her toddler. A frantic search — of the bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, the car — ensues. Two new high-quality toddler track shoes are expensive, but one's an embarrassment, and probably someone — most probably Dad, having been sent out on the errand with Junior — is gonna get a tongue-lashing.
So Happy Valentine's Day, harried and hypothetical Dad who didn't notice the missing shoe when you piled Junior back into the car for the trip home. Take your lumps from Mom, and volunteer to make the next shoe-shopping run. Take comfort in knowing (but don't you dare defend yourself by arguing, not at least until next week) that you did get the most important thing back into the car, safe and sound, and that even nearly-brand-new toddler sneakers are replaceable (if only in pairs).
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...someone — most probably Dad, having been sent out on the errand with Junior...
Why exactly do you make that presumption?
Ideosyncratic and highly personal experience as a devoted father of four, generalized (perhaps unfairly, but I think mostly accurately) into a highly subjective assessment of probabilities. I'd be more likely to miss the missing shoe than my ex, although I can certainly imagine a mom doing the same thing.
Perhaps no one is to blame. These things oft times just happen in the time space continuum that we inhabit. I bring to your attention the phenomenon of the one sock that simply vanishes from the dryer. For no reason....just gone or perhaps snagged by aliens. In fact, in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" I fully expected to see the newly returned abductees unloading huge bags of single socks.....
More likely the car window was open and the kid took it off and threw it out him/herself.
Of course, I don't speak from personal experience. No, of course not!
Luckily our toddler had the good sense to throw out a shoe that was nearing the end of its life, and not one of his brand new ones.
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