Alex Hughes April 2018 … I grew up in Vista on the side of town that was more rural than actually city. I am used to seeing rolling hills and the 76 from atop a hill. I pass by fields of strawberries and avocado trees when I go on the 306 to the Vista Transit Center. There were no street lights, but there were many power lines. However, I also grew up, along with my sisters, going to Vista High School; passing through the “barrio”. Each day, when we picked up my sister from school, I saw the small homes and the Mexican restaurants in the background as I sat in my mom’s Nissan Pathfinder. Curiosity intrigued me from this almost forbidden side of Vista that I had never explored. As I got older, I finally made the front seat where I could see past the dashboards down the cracked streets and the pigeons sitting on the traffic lights.
With my obsession with streetlights and traffic lights at this time, one thing caught my eyes on the powerlines. Swinging in the wind and in several areas were the sight of slightly worn shoes, usually Vans or Converse, that sat there. I wondered how that was done and how they stayed there without falling down. In my mind, it almost seems like a waste to do that to a wearable pair of shoes considering that many people don’t even have shoes. How did they throw them? How do they not fall on people’s heads or the tops of cars? Do they do this to their old shoes or the ones that they are wearing? I wanted to find out about the meaning behind this strange symbolism.
There does not appear to be many definite answers apart from many theories. There appears to be a fascination with this problem as some have decided to create documentaries about this! According to a news report by the New York Times, Manny Fernandez reports about the Bronx and how the many shoes build up. Con Edison, the power company, finds an issue with obstruction; however, the youth find it as a sense of neighborhood pride. They double knot the laces before they toss them up; therefore, allowing for them to stay there. It is a fun trick for kids.
I believe that this is a blight to our city. Not only does it not belong there, but it is another piece of trash that is only harder to pick up. It makes no difference if it is on the ground or in the sky; litter is litter. As we know, “Only Losers Litter”. It is also not sustainable. These shoes could find a better home if they were donated to organizations such as Soles 4 Souls that actually accept used shoes. Instead, these people abandon their shoes to nature to degrade. It truly is a waste.