Friday, May 9, 2008

No Shoes, No Problem

At first I thought it was just Peter Jackson being weird. Eccentric people who produce multi-million-dollar worldwide blockbuster film series are generally tolerated. He famously wore no shoes when collecting awards and attending gala events.

From "11 Things You Must Know About Peter Jackson"

He is best known for wearing shorts to the shoot and going barefoot. In fact, his going barefoot is so legendary that Oscars host Billy Crystal took one look at Jackson's feet and declared, 'he's wearing shoes.' 'I always dress formal to formal events,' Jackson told Rolling Stone in a recent profile.

But I don't think it's Peter, it's Peter's birthplace---this place. Here. Where I'm standing right now.

As Joanne bemusedly pointed out earlier, the kids leave their backpacks AND shoes outside the classrooms and run around their schools in stocking feet. That struck us as both strange and cool.

But... I also see people on the street in downtown Wellington without shoes on, about half of my coworkers kick their shoes off under their desks and walk around the office barefoot or in socks, and yesterday I saw the bit of this barefootedness that drove me to write a blog entry about it: a computer science professor from Victoria University Wellington was meeting with the tech director at my company and about five other people and he came into the office barefoot.

He was toting a backpack with his bike helmet in it, and his bike and presumably his shoes were out in the entryway to the offices. There was no "oh, hey, look you're barefooted." or "Look, it's Dr. No Shoes On" or any kind of comment made about it at all---it was just totally normal. It's a shoes-optional society and people of stature meeting with local businessmen about job recruiting fairs in the central business district of the capital city need not adorn their feet with anything at all.

Am I living in The Shire after all?


Jacob said...

Or by leaving your shoes on, are you being coarse or vulgar in some way? Is it like taking your shoes off at the door of someone's home? You have to wonder, "Am I ruining things for the shoeless, by walking around with shoes on indoors?"

Jeff said...

It could very well be the shire if they are all barefoot (with big hairy feet) and smoking tweed. Any signs of Gandalf?