Shoes and Sox
So, I am in anti-prompt mode this morning. Why should I tell you about my shoes when I want to talk about my socks? They are so closely associated anyway and you can’t have one without the other – well, you most certainly can, but it’s never quite the same thing.
So, I was walking the Camino de Santiago / the Road to St. James, back in the day, just being a Pilgrim and making a quick Pilgrim’s Progress, while on the bus, but a much slower one when I decided to get off the bus, put on my shoes, and walk. No, I didn’t have hiking or walking boots, just a very comfortable pair of sneakers and a very thick pair of socks.
I left the hotel early and set out, on foot, from Leon to Astorga. The sun shone. The heat rose up from the tarmac. I sought the shade from the poplar trees that lined the road and rapidly realized how popular they are for the long-distance walker. And I sweated. I carried my pilgrim possessions in an Army and Navy Stores backpack. It didn’t weight much, but it grew heavier as the day went on. I had expected to meet people along the way, but I didn’t. No other pilgrims. A farmer – I asked him if this was the road – and he said yes. A ragged looking priest from a small roadside chapel who invited me to spend the night. Two dogs that ran down the hill and barked at me and then ran back up again.
By the time I got to Hospital de Orbigo, just down the road from Puente de Orbigo, I was tired. I went into the first hotel I found, asked for a room, and got one. The owner gave me a funny look and let me find my own way to a room, very isolated, at the end of a long corridor. When I got there, I decided to have a shower, and took my clothes off, starting with my shoes. As I took my shoes off, it hit me – and it was a combination of week old kippers, soaked in the Bishop’s Gaiters, and anointed with long-past-it raw milk / lait cru Camembert. My sox had the pox.
I stripped off, left my socks on, and paddled in the shower. It did no good at all. I put shampoo in the toilet bowl, stood in the bowl, stamped up and down as if I were trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath were indeed stored – it did no good at all. I flushed the toilet multiple times and still those poxy sox refused to release their ripeness. I took them off, laid them out to dry, to see if that would help, and went down to the bar for supper and a brandy (or two).
When I came back to my room, inspiration struck. I whistled- as if calling my dog. The sox got up of their own accord and – I kid you not – walked towards me. I opened the garbage bag and pointed to it, and the sox walked right in. I tied the bag up with a plastic tie, added two more plastic bags outside the first one, went happily to sleep, got up next morning, and walked to the bus stop, abandoning my socks in their safety blanket for the hotel owner to find.
Moral of the story – if you want to get to your destination, don’t get off the bus until your journey ends.