I don’t understand how shoes end up on the Interstate. I have heard the urban legend that states that tying a pair of shoes together and tossing them over a power line indicates that someone nearby is selling the reefer, but I don’t think that the median of I-71 would be a good place to score some chronic.
Another theory I have is that the nimrods one sees on the freeway (usually teenage kids) who like to put their feet on the dashes and out car windows occasionally have a shoe blown off, which would constitute one of those “actions lead to consequences” sort of lessons. As in, your mother is going to kick your butt sideways when she realizes you just lost one of a pair of $100 Reeboks.
Then there is always the prankster possibility- Jimmy’s sleeping like death in the back seat, so now’s the time to chuck his DCs out the moon roof. Fun and laffs-laffs-laffs for everyone, except Jimmy, who will now have to wear his little sister’s Hello Kitty pink flip flops for the duration of the vacation.
I can also understand tossing footwear out the window when and if it smells like six week old rancid pork chops that have been marinating in horse piss and used cat litter. This actually happened on a road trip to North Carolina with my parents and my then teenaged son. The POMC wears a bizarre size- 13 AA- so when he finally finds a pair of comfy shoes, they cost out the wazoo (and he is even more cheap than I am- except with his motor sport needs) and he wears them until they literally fall apart. I remember these shoes all too well- a pair of highly distressed and duct-taped Etnies that I had once had to special order and paid $100 + for, but by that time they had been worn, used and abused until the very thinnest pieces of soles remained.
The Etnies were nice shoes when they were new- but not after 2 years of Steve-o abuse.
And they smelled. Horrible. I came much too close to paying a brief and intense visit with Cousin Ralph getting a whiff of that, and I have almost no sense of smell. It had to be deadly for anyone with a normal sense of smell to be anywhere near that funk.
So when Steve-o decided, somewhere on I-71 in rural Kentucky, that it would be a good idea to remove the shoes, peel off the socks, and let his bird claws air out, a green and thick stench wafted through the Venture van like a malevolent, pasty sewage-y fog.
I thought Mom was going to hurl right out the passenger side window. It is only by a Miracle of God that she didn’t spew the Burrito Supreme and Taco Salad she’d just scarfed about an hour earlier at Taco Bell all down the side of the van. The sight of used Taco Bell splattering down the side of the van and onto the freeway coupled with that evil green miasma that was permeating the interior of the van would have guaranteed a mass uprising of various stomach contents.
I’m sure it doesn’t taste as good on the way back up.
Traveling alone does help one to avoid the hazards of traveling with others- noxious smells, dangerous driving, and the unappetizing visuals of blood relatives who are dead to the world, open-mouthed and snoring like freight trains.
I rather enjoyed my solo road trip to NC last week. The only thing I really didn’t like was all the rudeness and bad driving I encountered on the way home. Apparently assholes are universal, or they were having a convention on I-75 northbound all through Kentucky. I don’t know why everyone in the south seems to think they are NASCAR drivers or some crap.
I was also able to avoid tourist traps and kitschy restaurants by bringing my own chow and only stopping for gasoline and to get coffee and pee. I didn’t encounter any worthy souvenirs this way, but then again I didn’t end up getting taken for various overpriced hillbilly swag.
That was almost a sad thing, failing to bring back some sort of memento. Next time I take a trip like that I should make it a point to stop off at some of those shops along the Interstate just to see if there is anything worth having other than homemade fudge, moonshine (now legal in Tennessee!) or shot glasses.