Since mid summer I have made the decision to stop wearing shoes. Initially what prompted this was a need to have more grip on my feet at my job and before that as a competitive sailor. Barefoot was always a part of my life but until recently limited only to the summer. I also suffered from chronic back pain but strangely only during the school year. Interestingly enough the only time my shoes were on. So this summer I stopped wearing shoes and started my first year at college continuing this practice. My back pain has disappeared and I feel healthier than ever. From day one however, I had people calling me crazy, freak, asking me if I was on drugs, and all sorts of ignorant stupid things. At least though I had around the same amount of people cheering me on. They said what I was doing was "badass" or "awesome." My teachers luckily have all shown great interest and support to my lifestyle so I am allowed to move throughout the college with bare feet. In some of the dining halls however I am forced to wear shoes which brings back my back pain very quickly within about 10 minutes of walking around.
I did some research and it turns out in my state and in the state my weekend job is in there are no laws against being ANYWHERE without shoes on. Very often I am asked to leave or put on shoes, why? Today I was at the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) museum and after paying for a ticket, passing through 4 or 5 exhibits passing numerous security guards curiously eyeing my feet this large heavyset black man said "Excuse me."In the raspy voice of a long time smoker he said "Excuse me." again as I continued past him. As I turned he said I have to leave because I was not wearing shoes. There was no place there even serving food! Why should I wear shoes? Long periods of standing and walking in shoes is not comfortable, I PAID to get in. What the hell gives him the right to kick me out. I was not being disruptive I was quietly observing the art.
As I was going down in the elevator with a classmate two RISD students were very curious and supportive of not wearing shoes. They thought it was very cool. As I zipped through the streets of Providence on my Ripstik G, I stopped at an intersection where two shriveled up old ladies both holding cigars pointed at me and said "Whats wrong with you?" I ignored these crippled old hags and continued down the road towards JWU. A man stepped out of a door behind me and yelled "Wow you are wild man!" and I responded "Yeah thats me." We had a very pleasant conversation about why I do it and he was very intrigued. Eventually he got to his destination we exchanged our "Have a good one."s and went our separate ways.
I printed out legal documents from the Department of Health stating that shoes are not required and I will pull it out every time some ignorant drone tells me I don't have the right to walk comfortably and treat my body as it was designed to work. Thats all for now. I am going out for a walk through the city. Its really a very beautiful place.