I have (with deepest sympathy and regret) just consigned my flip-flops to the dustbin. I appreciate that I am writing for an international audience so, for the definition of flip flops, read – strapless sandal equipped with a rope or rubber thing that fits in between your big toe and the other toe and whose name is derived from the sound it makes as you walk along. Flip on, the left and flop on the right.
So, when I was a kid, flip flops were all flimsy rubber beach shoes, however with the advent of American and Australian surf brands offering, expensive but well wearing and well made cork, wood, rubber, composite versions of the shoes, the humble flip flop has become a sturdy and sure footed foot wear. Hell. I had these flip-flops for ten years. They have been to Venice, Corsica and St Tropez and Barcelona I’ve driven in them, danced in them, and worn them when decorating, gardening, and putting out the dustbin. In the dark, deep and chill winter they have served me as carpet slippers – it has always been good to feel the sensation of summer under the soles of my feet even during the bitterest winter months on the coldest floors – and today they died – after ten years of constant use, I just thrust my feet a little too hard into my trusty old flip flops and the thongs broke. Oh woe is me. No more flipping and flopping. No more memories of summer. Ah ! All the life that I have shared with these flip-flops – and all the blog posts I have written wearing these flip-flops. So essential and conducive to writing. I am bereaved. I am naked. I am in mourning for my footwear. What am I going to shovel my feet into when I raise from slumber tomorrow morning? It won’t be the same flip floppy walk to the kitchen. My coffee won’t taste the same. My day won’t be the same. And to find such good and trusty flip-flops will be impossible.
My wife keeps telling me to buy open toed sandals for safe summer feet. NO WAY. I AM NOT A GERMAN TOURIST. (And will not wear sandals with socks.) Even if they are past my advancing years – I want some cool flip-flops.
And now I think of my daughter. The hundreds of times that she has come running along the beach, brandishing lost flip-flops for her fish brained dad. And when I think of it, I bought these flip-flops when m daughter was six and now she is sixteen – ten years of growing up in flip-flops. All those sandcastles we have built, all those buckets and spades we have bought, all those times we have shared in flip-flops.
Oh well, it is just another inconvenience in a bad day. The day when I trashed the front bumper of my car on a bollard in a car park. The day that I had a serious and acrimonious brush with French administration, the day I had a run in with my new boss the day … the day, that four years ago my mum was diagnosed with liver cancer and died a month later. Hey, just buy some cool flip-flops and I will think of better times.