I am not a germaphobe, I swear I’m not.
But if you wear your street shoes in our rebuilt house I’ll kill you.
Humor, people, humor.
In truth, Cheryl and I have likely gone off the deep end with our no-shoes policy. This isn’t how most Americans live.
But when we looked at our spanking new kitchen and living room — those pristine white oak floors, those spotless area carpets — the idea of tromping on them with dirty shoes was repugnant.
I never used to think this way. I put on shoes in the morning and kept them on until I went to bed at night. That’s the way my parents raised me. That’s how I raised my own children.
When visiting other people’s homes, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been asked to remove my shoes. I’m always happy to oblige, while thinking: Aren’t we being a little anal?
Cheryl and I first latched onto a no-shoes policy when we moved into the garage attic during home reconstruction. To ready the attic for occupancy, Cheryl had put down laminate flooring and new rugs and I’d painted every square inch of the interior.
Having made the space immaculate, why would we walk through it with shoes spewing microbes from the outside world? Our footwear stayed at the bottom of the spiral staircase when we ascended into our celestial aerie.
None of this struck me as kooky, yet it didn’t occur to me to retain this policy when we moved back into our revamped house.
That was Cheryl’s idea.
It was she who agonized over the decision to pay for real oak flooring. It was she who had insisted that the protective coating be redone by the subcontractor to get the sheen just right.
After going through all this, why would anyone let loose shoes and grit on such a pricey, pristine surface?
I stuck a “socks please” Post-It on the main entry. Our first victims were the construction workers putting the final touches on things.
I’m sure they didn’t relish having to remove boots with long laces, exposing their mismatched socks to the world, but they performed this partial striptease with apparent good humor.
We try to give guests advance notice of the no-shoes policy. For those who arrive not wearing socks, Cheryl offers a new pair that they can take home with them.
To make the transition from shoes to no-shoes easier, Cheryl installed indoor and outdoor benches by the door. Now guests don’t have to hop up and down. They can now struggle while sitting down.
We’re madly enthusiastic about our socks lifestyle. After a long day in the office, I spend a few minutes most evenings doing recreational sliding on our floors. It’s a lot like ice skating.
But aren’t socks on slick flooring a safety hazard?
Excellent point. I do lose traction in socks. I’ve learned to adjust. No abrupt movement. Everything is best done in a slow glide.
I’ve fallen only once.
Cheryl has never fallen. She’s thrown little rugs here and there as safety islands.
We allow Julia’s cat, Jack, to visit our antiseptic living quarters. We don’t have to wash Jack’s paws upon entry because she lives in the garage and her feet never touch dirt.
Even if they had touched dirt, we wouldn’t wash them. Probably.
Jack finds our floors inhibiting. She can’t go on wild dashes when she’s feeling manic. There’s no traction.
How long can our no-shoes policy last? Have we set an impossibly high standard that will be eroded by the demands of everyday life? If a guest won’t unshoe, citing an unsightly bunion, do we turn them away?
Time will tell.