There was something important missing in yesterday’s posting about Van Gogh’s Shoes – the pedestrian view.
If one manufactured shoes, or worked in a shoe store, or in Bata’s Shoe Museum in Toronto, one would be tempted to judge people by the shoes they wear, just as dentists can’t help judging people by their teeth. Whether these shoes were Vincent Van Gogh’s or those of a peasant woman, one would be bound to conclude that the wearer was deeply depressed and kept alive only by massive doses of schnapps. In fact, if these shoes could speak, they would cry out, “One more schnapps, please!”
But it is a good thing that shoes cannot speak. It is bad enough to be infuriated by the tap-tap-tap of certain robust ladies’ robust shoes as they pass you while you are waiting for the subway trying to read the paper or to listen to your iPod. One wonders – what is the message they are trying to convey? Keep away from me? Don’t touch?
Surely many subway riders would prefer to be seduced by the sweet-nothings emanating from high heels, though one must always be aware that high heels easily morph into stilettos, which can be used as weapons.
Judging people by what their shoes can tell you is quicker and more reliable than any other way, though it requires training. It is bad form, when coming into a room, to look at people’s shoes before looking at their faces. But there are ways of getting around this. In any case, don’t trust a man with sparkling well-polished shoes; he is likely to be violent. Don’t do business with anybody wearing OLD Nike shoes – he or she is callous about the exploitation of child labour in Asia. The company is reported to have seen the light, so it is now safe to consort with NEW Nike wearers, though they are likely to run faster than you do.
And if you meet somebody wearing two left shoes, both ancient and weather-beaten and conspicuously proletarian, try and buy them and have them auctioned off at Christie’s for a million dollars.