Freeway Refugees

Unsecured cargo in the bed of a pick-up truck. A tantrum-throwing toddler. Drunken joy ride gone wrong.

What do all of these things have in common? They are all possible origins of discarded shoes on the side of the freeway.

Have you ever noticed these refugees of freeway journeys gone wrong? I was driving this weekend and it struck me that there are a lot of freaking shoes on the freeway and this baffles me. What are they doing out there?

Litter is unfortunate, but sometimes people suck and they litter and it’s something we have to deal with. However, who is littering with shoes? I came up with some scenarios wherein discarded shoes might make sense (see above), but I can’t see these instances happening on a regular enough instance to justify all the abandoned footwear I see out there.

In fact, I actually saw an entire water-skiing outfit discarded on the shoulder of a freeway yesterday. I passed an aqua sock. 30 feet later there was a life jacket. Another 30 feet after that I saw a pair of board shorts. Shortly thereafter I passed the other aqua sock. Obviously, there are only two explanations for this: Either someone forgot to secure their stuff while towing their boat home, or someone was vaporized in pieces while taking a stroll on the side of the freeway. I’m leaning toward the latter explanation, personally.

This may be a mental roadblock for no one other than myself, but I simply cannot wrap my mind around the improbability of losing one shoe. I mean, it’s always just that one shoe that you see. What the heck happened there? Doesn’t it make sense that the wearer of that shoe ought to have noticed the parting of their foot from the shoe? I just can’t believe that the wearer wouldn’t notice or try to retrieve it. After all, shoes are generally expensive and having just one shoe does you no good (unless you’re hopping around on only one leg. If this is your situation, feel free to discard all the shoes you like, you uniped minx.)

Also, there’s the act of actually losing a shoe out the window of a moving car. How does this happen? Does an errant low-flying bird have the gumption to knock a shoe right off a foot if said foot is hanging out the window? Are these shoes messages from kidnapping victims, who hope someone might recognize their trail of dropped clothing and follow accordingly? Is there something about driving on the freeway that makes some people spontaneously convert to nudism?

Have you ever lost a shoe on the freeway? Please, share with me how this happened. If not, do they have abandoned shoes on the freeways where you live or is this just idiosyncratic to where I live?

3 thoughts on “Freeway Refugees

  1. Loose shoes (in singles and pairs) here on the east coast too!

    Although I am partial to your vaporization theory, I’ve heard one source is shoes that criminals have used in robberies. Apparently they toss them out of the getaway car.

    Who knows, but it’s fun to think about when traffic sucks!

  2. -Anon, Well, I wouldn’t be doing a very good job of parsing the nonsense if things didn’t get just a little absurd around here! Welcome, friend!

    -Mrs. Higrens, Fabulous! I’m so glad this phenomenon isn’t just a West coast thing! Wow, if those shoes are all the results of heist-pulling criminals, there’s a lot more crime going on than I thought! I wonder what ends up happening to those shoes. Hopefully they end up at Goodwill. It is fun to think about though!

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