Barefooters in Brooklyn
It is rare to find other people in Brooklyn, let alone the New York region who share my passion for going barefoot. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, this week especially since I was outnumbered unanimously everywhere I went by shoes and socks or stockings. Today, with the sidewalks more lively today than the rainy weather of yesterday, I noticed the number of people walking while shedding off their coats, and women who from the waist up were dressed in their sleeveless summer tops, while dressed for winter from the waist down. Though sleeves and socks were still for the most part the norm, there were a handful of people who doffed their socks and went in flip-flops, some in shorts.
In the sidewalk seating areas of some of the Village restaurants, the contrast was especially evident, where adjacent to the table where one couple sat in their jackets and sleeves, and shoes and socks, sat a another couple, the man in shorts and flip-flops gazing across at his female counterpart who had slipped off her flip flop sandals, resting the soles of her bare feet on the rim of her chair, spreading her newly dark polished toes. It was as if society was torn whether to hold out in their cool weather garb waiting for that reassurance that the weather would this time stay warm, or to defy the cold by doffing their coats, sleeves, closed shoes and socks and greet the soon to be summer weather with open arms (and spread out toes!).
Of course in generally the early spring months this is a normal phenomenon, as the late writer Mark Twain quoted, “if you do not like the weather in New York, wait five minutes…”. Even though this was happening around late spring, the big surprise came as I was in my car driving back from the city through Brooklyn. As I turned my car around a corner, something appeared out of the corner of my eye. Could it be..? I thought. Is that man barefoot? From around the corner, sure enough was a guy, possibly late 20’s to 30’s walking confidently down the block in his shorts, letting his bare feet savor the texture of the sidewalk. Driving past him, I had already made up my mind. I had to talk to this person. Finding a convenient parking spot, and ignoring that my rear wheel was parked slightly on the curb, I crossed the street and caught him as we were crossing paths.
“I like your shoes!” I commented. He turned to see who was calling as he knew it was obviously directed at him.
“I see you are barefoot too,” he replied. I asked him if he went like that all the time and he replied mainly in the warmer weather. We talked about the myths of society and how shoes can actually damage the feet. I told him that seeing another barefoot person in Brooklyn was a sight for sore eyes since it was just something you don’t see. He said he saw them around, and when I asked him where, he said mainly in park (which I don’t really count).
He had a small bag with him where he carried his shoes around “in case I have to walk into an establishment…” I informed him to the fact that there are actually no health code violations where bare feet are concerned with the exception of employees of the food establishments and how bare feet are actually healthier and more fashionable than any kind of shoe. I also gave him advice for conditioning his feet for the winter, mainly just letting them adapt to the weather and told him about the SBL (Society for Barefoot Living), which he had never heard of.
And speaking of health code, I felt like I had a victory earlier on this morning, after electing to leave any footwear I had at home. I have been frequenting a wifi coffee shop close to my home with both indoor and outdoor seating. Coming in often in shorts my feet are no question noticed. This morning, the girl who usually stands behind the counter when I’m there finally commented on my bare feet and suggested that I wear something on my feet in case of health code since sometimes they get inspections. When I informed her that there was actually no such code violation and that I had documentation on it, she was absolutely cool with it. She asked about NS3 signs and I told her that that was the choice of businesses to put those signs. “Well in that case,” she replied, “I’m fine with it.” What a breath of fresh air from what I normally get.
Another positive experience was going to the bank to make a deposit. While I was on the way to the teller, one of the officers there asked if I needed help and offered to take care of my deposit for me. My bare legs and feet in plain view, he went over all the options I can receive to save money and signed me up for fee waiving programs. No more minimum balances! Woohoo!
As the weather is expected to warm up even more by the weekend, I anticipate each day where I can experience another positive barefoot happening! Keep em bare all
The Barefoot Wellness Coach