Odd Pueblo: Tucson’s lone shoe

Tucson is not unique for having single shoes pop up all over the place. What is unique may be the frequency – and places – they pop up.

Pump in a planter/Ryn Gargulinski

Pump in a planter/Ryn Gargulinski

Anyone who has ever lost sleep wondering where these single shoes come from will be able to rest easy tonight.

The lone shoe on the side of the road:

This is an easy one. Dozens of pedestrians are hit every year here in Old Pueblo, some violently enough to get knocked out of their shoe. Many decide to cross the street willy-nilly while wearing dark clothing and avoiding crosswalks. Some trample across the road, totally ignoring any oncoming traffic, and glare at the drivers as if daring them to hit them. Others, sadly, are hit by people who are drunk, drugged, stupid or just don’t know how to drive.

The lone shoe in the wash:

These are from murder victims.

The lone shoe in the Rillito River bed:

Several theories behind this one. If the shoe has any blood on it, you can bet the person was attacked and consumed by a pack of coyotes. If the shoe is clean but stretched at the ankle, the person was a victim of a javelina. The javelina charged at them hard enough to knock off a shoe. If the shoe has teeth marks, the person must have been using it as a dog fetching toy but the dog got bored and simply left it in the sandy reeds.

The lone shoe in front of the police station:

Drunks.

Where's his shoes?/Ryn Gargulinski

Where's his shoes?/Ryn Gargulinski

The lone shoe floating down Sabino Canyon:

Another easy one, as I’ve seen it in action. A person tries to cross the stream with his shoes and socks clutched in his hand and his backpack swinging from an arm rather than properly secured on his back. He starts to tilt, loses his balance, and drops a shoe. By the time he crosses the shoe has floated far, far away and lodged itself next to a mossy rock.

The lone shoe stuck somewhere strange, like on a stick in a concrete planter on Congress Street:

Art.

Shoe in planter/Ryn Gargulinski

Shoe in planter/Ryn Gargulinski

Please don’t confuse the single shoe issue with the single sock issue. The missing socks are always stolen by those evil elves who live in the dryer.

Where’s the weirdest place you saw a lone shoe?
Did you ever lose a single shoe? What did you do?

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About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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3 Responses to Odd Pueblo: Tucson’s lone shoe

  1. RADC MAXIMUS says:

    Haha! There’s my morning chuckle. Mornin’ Rynski. Love the chargin’ javalina bit, although they are so blind they are more likely to run headlong into a tree! You forgot about amputees! What do these unfortunates do with that extra left pump or right tennie?

  2. Rynski says:

    Mornin’ Radc Max!
    Glad you got a laugh.
    Yes, the amputees get shafted if they have to buy a pair when they only need one. You’re right, they may be throwing the extra one into the wash or canyon stream (haha).

  3. Red Star says:

    This is common in the rural and exurban Southeast…pairs of muddy and wet shoes are left on the porch, on the veranda and one shoe of the pair is retrieved and dropped miles away by stray and wild dogs. They do this in the night. The why mudrooms are quite the rage there.

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