He’d always put his left shoe on before his right.
Two weeks prior to this stunning realisation, a general uneasiness had set in. There was something amiss, and each day the dark sensation coincided with the exact moment he held the remaining shoe in his right hand.
He looked down at the satisfied left shoe, so arrogantly blasé about its station in life. What a sense of self-entitlement it must have possessed, to casually expect to be the first shoe chosen every day. 10,000 days, the man thought. I guess after that many instances, a shoe starts to build confidence.
Lashing out like he was shaking off a lock-jawed chihuahua, he kicked the left shoe loose and glared at the overturned brogue with resentment. Yet after several attempts to put the right shoe on first, he floundered. What if his morning ritual was part of some bizarre symbiosis that, if unsettled, would lead to chaos, like glaciers melting and the planet’s axis shifting?
Rattled, he decided to surrender to the process one last time, but he leered at the shoes, as if to say ‘I know what you’re up to’.
He was disappointed by his cowardice, but his eyes had been opened. The train ride, the office, the café; they were all as new, and although he mechanically rolled through his typical patterns and choices, he was enjoying a renovated view of what he’d come to call ‘normality’.
When it came time to submit to yet another daily ritual, he stood at the steps of the underground station, crushed by the weight of his decision. Unlike the brogue standoff, he sharply turned left and marched west. He would not be taking the 5:45 express service on that particular day.
I found him at the local pub, slouched over a Bloody Mary and looking perplexed by the protruding celery. He was vitalised by his new perception of the world but daunted by change.
I offered wisdom, advice and rum. He signed up to my mailing list.
In less than a week he transformed his existence, evolving from grey office pawn to a majestic Tai Chi sensei (pictured) who effortlessly levitates in the rainbows of the firmament. *
*Unfortunately, while Rainbow Man believes he’s a hovering guru, at one with celestial powers, this is limited to self-perception and likely to be a result of eating suspect mushrooms and drinking half a bottle of tequila. To the rest of us, he’s a naked homeless hippy dancing on a station platform as two cops try to detain him. But hey, he seems happy.