Sunday, August 10, 2008

A No-Shoe Rule? I'll Take It!

Becoming part of a large Cambodian-American family has by and large been a great process, but it comes with a need to make adaptations to certain cultural norms that I'm not used to. Some are things that I haven't really wrapped my hands around yet, so I won't even try to write about them. But one that's pretty cut-and-dry is this: no shoes on inside the house.

It's a simple-enough rule to remember, though I'm still trying to beat it into my muscle memory every time I walk through the door. The 'shoes-off' thing is generally based on a respect for the cleanliness of someone else's home and, I believe, is practiced throughout most of Asia.

I'm adopting it for myself for two basic reasons:

(1) First, as someone who has written repeatedly on this blog about a personal desire to be neater, not wearing shoes inside the house is a great first step -- less mud, dirt, and whatever else from outside to track all over your carpets should automatically extend their lifespan manyfold.

(2) Far more practically speaking, when you take your shoes off inside the house, you'll always know where they are. What I'm noticing now is that whereas I used to scramble around before work in the morning or before going out at night to answer the 'where-the-heck-are-my-shoes' question, I no longer have that problem -- all the shoes I own are sitting in neat little pairs, just to the right of the front door in the entryway to my condo.

From a practicality standpoint, that's hard to beat.


kad barma said...

I got the gist of it recently, too, and I'm definitely a convert. Funny how, after it clicks as a habit, you can't imagine wearing shoes indoors anymore at all. The clean part is great, and, even better, the comfy part is a real self-indulgence. Gotta love things that are good AND good for you, too.

The New Englander said...

Kad Barma,

Glad you liked it. My place is already cleaner and the days of the "Where the heck are my ____ shoes" are done. I would start adapting this one at work, but somehow I don't think it would come across so well..