As a general rule, if you ever walk into someone’s home in Sweden, you should take your shoes off. I suppose the idea is to keep the floors in good shape, whether they be carpet, wood, or crappy plastic flooring like I have in my apartment.
Taking your shoes off is quite a nice little custom if you ask me. Shows a bit of respect for the home you’re entering, plus it shows a bit of friendliness, a comfort with your host if you will. It’s something I found myself doing over the summer when I went home. It’s something I find myself doing here without even thinking about it. Until recently. Because recently my socks have taken a turn for the worse.
I’m not really sure what happened. But apparently socks have a limited shelf life. And since I tend to buy (and by buy I mean my mom gives them to me for Christmas) socks at the same time, they apparently decide to give out all at the same time. So I am stuck with a drawer full of socks with gaping holes in them. Mostly on the bottom of the sock near the ball of the foot and the heel. This isn’t so bad really, except for the gross sticky feeling I get when walking on the aforementioned plastic flooring in my apartment. What is bad are the holes in the toes. Because when you take your shoes off at someone’s apartment, and your big toe is sticking out, well you feel a bit self-conscious about it.
This seems like it would be a simple problem to solve. There are a couple of options. I could sit around and darn my socks. But that’s not really my style. And there’s an even easier solution. Just throw them out and start over with new socks. I know. It’s easy. And socks aren’t exactly an expensive luxury item. But I have a problem. I can’t throw things away until I have used the hell out of them. So I keep wearing these socks until not only my big toe is sticking out but the rest of the little piggys stick their heads out too.
And while Mr. Fontana always told us to work smarter not harder, I would like to think that there are many different ways of doing that. And so while the smart thing may be to buy new socks, the even smarter thing is to just not wear socks with holes in the big toe when you are going to visit someone. I’m a problem solver.
Welcome to Sweden, where you should always take your shoes off at someone’s door. And where you should always be sure to have socks without holes.