LaManzanilla, Mexico -- The climate is so kind here we live in shorts, tank tops and wear sandals or go barefoot every day. Once in a while we wear formal wear, shirts with collars and tennis shoes, for walking on the gravel streets up the hills to see how the rich and famous live.
But we always drop our shoes at the front door when we return from long walks to keep the dust and sand outside, where it belongs.
So the other night after we had a fish fry on the patio palapa with our friends Michael, Sylvia, Scott and David, we retired after the final margarita with a pile of shoes outside the door.
When I got up the next day and decided I need my shoes they were not there. I assumed Scott or David picked them up in the dark by accident. I went and woke Scott up to retrieve them before he left for the airport, but he did not know what I was talking about.
I went back to double check and found my socks, slightly soiled, stuffed into a pair of shoes I had never seen before. On closer examination the "new" shoes were tennis shoes, made in Mexico, and one size smaller than mine.
Javier, the efficient house man, has no idea what happened.
No one knows where my shoes are, or whose shoes were left behind. We were all sober, perhaps not as a judge, but sober, and have only begun to develop the possibilities:
-- One of us has a shoe fetish and does not want to admit it;
-- Someone sneaked into our enclosed patio in the dead of the night, tried on all available shoes, took mine and left theirs. Sort of an upgrade;
-- Or, our neighbor, who shall go un-named, stole them. Not likely, but currently the favorite theory since he is something of an ugly American, loud and pompous.
The replacement pair are too small for me, so only one thing remains certain. When I arrive back in Camp Connell and the snow and ice, I will probably be wearing a thick pair of socks and my Teva sandals.
I don't think folks on BART in San Francisco will think that weird at all.
But down at the Camp Connell Store, they might start talking.