A few months ago, I wrote a blog in which a Tongan friend, Sila, randomly put on a sandal he found on the beach. I thought that was hilarious for so many reasons: it was only one shoe that he put on, why had someone left one shoe on the beach, and so on. (Just today, Sila came over before rugby practice wearing only one cleat. He explained that he only kicks with one foot.) There are many things to be found as discarded and forgotten junk all around the village, but I keep seeing single shoes and sandals.
I know why. Sure, the wear and tear of wearing flip flops to go farming will cause them to fall apart quickly, but, at least for me, there’s another reason. The dogs.
My dog, Papi, used to love to carry off my sandals that I leave by the door. He wouldn’t go far, just into the grass, so he could gnaw on them. Lately though, Papi’s been hanging out with another dog: Gold-Colored Dog. Though this other dog is cute, he seems to be a bad seed. In the past couple of months, I’ve had single shoes go missing. Three shoes from all different pairs. I used to think it was Papi, but one night, I found Gold-Colored Dog happily chewing through the straps of my Chacos.
If a sandal goes missing, I’ll ask my students to search for it. Sometimes, a few weeks later, they’ll find a sandal on the beach, obviously taken by a dog and eventually abandoned. Recently Papi’s collar disappeared, and, sure enough, a week later, a kid returned it to me saying they found it in the sand.
Losing footwear to the sea – yet another thing I won’t worry about when I get back to America.