Frosty Knobbly Knees

The wearing of shorts in inappropriate climes:-

The Scouts: tottering, squatting, struggling to survive in damp undergrowth somewhere on the outskirts of Melbourne during its thriving winter.

Charles Hawtrey: walking the frosty English countryside in Carry On Camping (1969).

The two young killers in the Michael Haneke film Funny Games (1997) – they’re also wearing thin soled sandshoes without socks – politely murdering the owners of holiday homes in the chilly Austrian lakes region.

Abandoned Shoe

While on holiday in the Outback I found on several occasions, squashed into the red dirt, an empty wine cask with a single thong lying next to it.

It’s strange that drunk people lose only one shoe. So who belonged to all these single thongs?

Was it the Aboriginal locals – a Dreamtime on Drink and a stumbling home at dawn?

Or could be white locals  but they usually drink tubes of Woodstock Bourbon & Cola (“So go out there and enjoy life with a Woody!” says the distiller ).

Drunk people aren’t the only ones losing their footwear. Another strange phenomenon is the high probability that at the scene of a serious road accident there will be a single runner  lying in the middle of the road.

The lastest television ad on drugs and driving shows a weed affected bloke jumping out of his 4WD – sorry, AWD – only to be cleaned up (a strange expression for someone being made a mess of) by a passing car. As his girlfriend runs up the road towards his freshly bespattered body, there among various detritus, some of which probably belongs inside the boyfriend, is one of his cross trainers.

There is also the drink -driver, haunted by the small boy he has killed , having visions of the child’s body on the road with his runner lying next to him.

I noticed a toddler’s shoe, a cute replica of an adult runner, at the top of a shopping centre escalator.  It was being pushed by the escalator onto the standing platform only to be knocked back onto the top step by the feet of uncaring shoppers.

As a child I always feared approaching the top of the escalator. So I imagined the owner of this shoe, the poor child, being sucked underneath the platform; the metal teeth shearing off the shoe, drawing him in like a sausage extruder and dumping his dessicated remains into the works underneath.

Or it could have been the scene of a child kidnapping: torn from his mother’s arms, or simply led away when mum – and she will torture herself  for it  for ever – became distracted.