I really prefer being barefoot, at least at home. I wear the most minimal of shoes the rest of the time. I don’t have anything against shoes, other than they feel a bit confining. They are useful. The natural world is plenty dangerous for tender soles – thorns, rocks, bees. Then add manmade hazards – burning hot pavement, broken glass, discarded needles. You can’t possibly side-step it all.
“Where would I possibly find enough leather
With which to cover the surface of the earth?
But (just) leather on the soles of my shoes
Is equivalent to covering the earth with it
Likewise it is not possible for me
To restrain the external course of things
But should I restrain this mind of mine
What would be the need to restrain all else?”
The virtual world is likewise dangerous for tender souls. Especially Facebook. What was once a method to keep in touch with friends about their personal lives has become a torrent of disjointed information – happy, sad, funny, heartbreaking, wretched. I need to be wearing some serious Gor-tex lined boots with steel shanks before I attempt that unpredictable trail, but I keep forgetting. I keep thinking it is safe to wander in wearing just my flipflops to see some cute pictures.
The fault is mine. I’ve been lazy. Like any gambler, I get hooked on the dopamine hit of a surprise delight – an elephant frolicking in the ocean, a friend’s toddler singing. But it isn’t worth the risk anymore. I need to map out my journey so that, like a good Scout, I can be prepared for what I encounter and not need someone to rescue me.
But at home, I’m barefoot. Inside my home, I can be relatively sure the ground is safe to walk on. I sweep up the shards when I break a glass. I don’t expect that I should never have to put on shoes and leave my house – but makes sense to close the online door to those who are mobilizing troops and alerting the world to danger until I’ve had a chance to lace up my boots. And perhaps put on a helmet.