Hi.

Last year, a pair of my wife’s shoes went missing from our carport. I grew up in the Midwest, so I feel like I should explain what a carport is. I mean, I didn’t really know what one was before moving down to Georgia, but it didn’t shake my very foundation when I first spotted one. OK. It was a little unsettling, I’ll admit. Anyway, I’m not trying to suggest that you guys don’t know what one is. Or that you couldn’t use Google Image Search to quickly dial yourselves up a visual. But I want this blog to be like a pile of comfy cushions resting atop a padded carpet – something that you can just plop onto without having to worry about the unforgiving concrete barking under your butts.

So, anyway, a carport is a garage without a garage door. It’s just an open area to slide a car into. They work out all right because cars aren’t prone to rust attacks down here. However, they do leave your car(s) and other carport innards exposed to passersby. And assholesby. Like the typical garage, our carport is semi-cluttered. There’s an old, non-working lawnmower that sits silently against the back wall. Dead leaves and various car fluid stains cover the floor. And our two raccoon-damaged garbage cans are huddled together, as if they are anticipating the next animal clawing. Until recently there was a row of shoes pressed up against one of the carport’s walls. I think there were eight pairs or so – sneakers, old beat up shoes demoted to yard work usage, unloved shoes, clippings of the old comic strip Shoe (I wish), horseshoes (I wish wish!).

I’m setting the scene of the crime here, but I’m probably being too detailed. So let me get to the point.

Oh, and there are some recycling bins in the carport too. And a bird’s nest.

Anyway, a year ago, a pair of my wife’s shoes went missing from the shoe row. They were a pair of just purchased running shoes. We figured that maybe she just misplaced them. Or they were lost within the confines of our small house. We thought they’d turn up at some point, but they never did. In the meantime, she just substituted and older pair for jogging purposes and the world continued to spin on its creaky axis.

A few weeks ago, my wife decided that the beat up pair had run its last suburban street and it was time to buy another set of sneakers. She settled on some trail running shoes – which sounds pretentious typing it out, but those things are great. We’ve been hitting some trails around Atlanta on the weekends, and – if you bite into the marketing – you need a little sturdier of sole. I’m typing this because now they are gone – stolen from our garage without a garage door! Another pair of her kicks, a yard pair, were pinched as well.

But here’s the thing – that original pair that we thought lost (within our house)? That pair was returned. The thief brought them back. Here’s the picture of the sneakers that the sneaker returned:

 

Actual size.

So, this person uses us like a Blockbuster for shoes, I guess. (By the way, are my shoes shit? They remained undisturbed during both crimes.) I’ll admit that I was amused at first. The carport was cruelly invaded, our personal space breached, but at least the shoe thief was kind enough to return the original pair, right? Then I realized what happened. The burglar, while we were at work, scuttled up to our house via our immaculate driveway:

 

Actual size.


After entering the carport, the shoelifter then kicked off the old pair she (I’m guessing at the gender) had wore down with her sad, sad stumblings, and jammed the new ones on her horrible, cloven hooves that probably smell and I hope she has no friends…And then she placed the other pair in her purse or backpack or in her trunk! Man, maybe thief was so bold that she drove down the driveway to complete her annual crime. So, when something like this happens, you move all the shoes you stupidly left outside – like your property is some kind of safety zone – and carry them into the house to protect them from future takings. I’m not a mean person, or vengeful, but I did think of buying a new pair (like really expensive and hard to resist), and then figuring out a way to glue thumb tacks and nails or other spiky things inside of the shoes. And place a kind of faux-sole over the points. And then just wait….maybe hook up a hidden camcorder to catch the invader. Ten months later, a shadowy figure creeps into the carport, slips off the old, steps into the new, screams, falls over, clutches foot, tries to crawl out of there, footblood mixing with the dead leaves and car oils as she grabs her way out – like she’s doing pull-ups. Me watching the video later – feeling a little guilty that the shoe scheme worked so well. Patting myself on the back, sure. But having this sick feeling in my stomach signaling to me that maybe I’m the bad person here. Plus, having a booby trapped pair of shoes just hanging around outside is probably not a good idea…so Plan B. 

We just decided to move the shoes inside our house and place them in a plastic container – obtained from the local Target. So now all of the shoes are ganged-up inside this bin, safely tucked away, dreaming shoe dreams, holding each other’s laces:

 

The shoes on my feet sadly look on as the other shoes bond.

As I took the above picture, I felt eyes on the back of my neck. I whipped around to see that my wife had positioned this little guy (a gift from a coworker) on a chair to watch over the shoe bin. A stuffed guardian. A symbolic gesture, but it made me feel happy and comforted. Here he is, overlooking the bin like a lifeguard overlooking the perilous waters. Also like a lifeguard, he seems to be sleeping:

 

I named him Green Dan.


As you probably noticed, he doesn’t look like much of a deterrent. Too cute. Small. Apparently asleep. So I fixed things to make him look more threatening to would-be shoe robbers: