Working a barefoot job, spooky walk home

Read about my experience working barefoot and a spooky walk home.

by sharleen wl

Tania graduated at the end of my freshman year in college (she's 3 years older than me), and immediately got a job downtown. Unfortunately she can't work barefoot which cuts down on her barefooting time. But she takes off her shoes in the office whenever she can and sometimes even walk around barefoot like to the break room. Its ok as long as her manager doesn't know :) She still goes barefoot all the time outside of work.

We agreed for her to take the car since she needed it more. My parents didn't want to buy me another car though, cuz I wasn't doing very well in college. They said I had become a wild child, and letting me have a car would only make things worse.

So what were my options? I could take the bus to school but that would take alot longer and I would have to wake up earlier every morning. Or I could live in an apartment close to campus so I could just walk. The latter sounded more favorable. Besides, I wanted to experience what it was like to live on my own.

So over the summer we found a small apartment like 15 minutes away from campus by foot. The area is quite nice and there are a grocery store, resterants, and other little stores nearby. Perfect! I imagined walking to school and into all those places in bare feet. I couldn't wait. So I moved in the fall right before school started.

It was bitter-sweet. On the one hand I was about to experience total freedom, be able to spend even more time barefoot, and wouldn't get yelled at by mom so often, lol. But on the other hand I missed being close to my family and living in my parents' big and beautiful house with all the conveniences. My family wasn't that far away though, maybe like 20 miles? Compare that to many other kids who's families live across the ocean in another state or country. I was still quite lucky.

I didn't really need to work cuz my parents would take care of the rent. But I  thought it would be fun to work and earn my own money. I found my first part time job working in a resterant as a waitress. I wasn't allowed to work barefoot but since this is Hawaii, I could work in flip flops (the staple footwear here) which is the next best thing. Well, I managed to get fired after like 2 months for a very stupid reason which I won't get into since its quite embarassing (it was my fault). Bummer!

So here I was, looking for another job. Annie, one of my good friends at school was working at a convenience store owned by a Japanese family not far from my apartment. She was going to quit in like a couple of weeks to concentrate on her studies more, and she thought I would be a good replacement.

I was excited. So one day she asked me to come with her to work to meet her bosses. Most of the time I would be working with Michelle, the owner's daughter. She's a young girl only a few years older than myself. She was born in Hawaii but her parents came from Japan. Michelle basically ran the store, but her mom Mrs. Tanaka would show up once in a while to make sure everything was in good order and to her liking.

Annie said the big boss was a good woman but would often be in a grouchy mood. She would then try to find faults and scold everyone including her daughter. She told me I should just not take things personally, and I would be ok. I thought she sounded like my own mom, so I would get used to her eccentricities in no time :)

Annie is not a barefooter but she also doesn't like wearing shoes, so she wears flip flops all the time including at work. On the way there I asked her if she thought they would let me work barefoot. She laughed and said I would have to ask Mrs. Tanaka. Btw, I was barefoot since we went straight from school. I figured I wouldn't start working right away, and the worst that could happen was to be told I couldn't work in bare feet which would be no biggie since I had done it before. I'm not a militant barefooter like some people, haha.

Mrs. Tanaka was already there when we arrived. Annie introduced me to her and Michelle. Mrs. Tanaka appeared stern and spoke with a heavy accent. She didn't smile very much but Michelle was really laid back and friendly, and she was wearing flip flops. I had a feeling I would get along with her very well. Neither of them paid attention to my bare feet though. Maybe because in Hawaii its quite common for people to go barefoot.

They gave me a quick tour of the store and asked me a few questions. They both seemed to like me. Mrs. Tanaka said Annie was a good worker, and since she recommended me, she would hire me as her replacement. I was a little nervous about asking if I could work in bare feet. But I told myself if I didn't ask I wouldn't know. I would be short changing myself to work in flip flops if I could do it barefoot. The worst, she would just say no.

So I mustered all my courage and asked, "Um... Mrs. Tanaka, am I like... allowed to work barefoot?"

She furrowed her brow and looked down at my bare feet for the first time. "Why do you want to do that?" she asked.

I had not anticipated that question. I thought she would give a straight answer either yes or no. So I stuttered a little. "Um... well, uh... because I don't like wearing shoes and I go barefoot to school. So uh... I thought it would be like easier to come straight here from school instead of going home first."

I immediately realised it was a lame answer for she would probably tell me to just bring flip flops along to school and put them on when I get to work. But she instead said something else. "But your feet will get very dirty because you will help out in the stock room in the back to sort things out when the delivery truck comes. We don't clean the floor there very often, you know!"

"Oh that's not a problem, I can wash my feet when I get home," I said feeling a little encouraged.

She hesitated for a while, looking down at my feet a few times before finally saying, "Mmm... well... I guess its ok then."

I was elated but tried not to show my excitement. I was like, "Yes!!" (didn't verbalize it, though). All I said was "thank you." I glanced at Michelle, and she smiled and winked at me.

Mrs. Tanaka managed to catch me off guard once again. "So, can you start right now? Annie has about 10 more days with us, and during that time she can kinda train you and help you out a little. Of course, Michelle is always here, but it will be good if you already know everything when Annie leaves."

I had actually made other plans but I thought f u c k it, I was so happy to have a job again. One that I could do barefoot too. So I said, "Oh ok, sure!"

So I would be working Monday to Friday from 5 to 9 pm when the store closes. They had another student working on Saturdays, but I might be asked to come in when the other person was sick or during busy times of the year, and it would be from 10 am to 2 pm.

The store is like a 10 minute's walk from my apartment, and I love walking home from work at night on week days. Its usually cool and the streets are quiet with very few cars. I would listen to the crikets chirping around me and feel the warm pavement under my bare soles. Very soothing. It gives me time to chill and reflect on things.

I often smoke a cigarette while walking home. Will I ever quit this bad habit? Maybe one day when weed is legal here or I move somewhere where it is :p

Michelle actually offered to drive me home every night, but I told her it was quite relaxing to walk. The neighborhood is pretty good. Besides, I know karate so I usually feel safe except when... Well, I'll tell you in a minute. I once had her drive me because it was stormy. That doesn't happen very often here, though. Most of the time its just light rain which is no biggie, and its nice to get my feet wet :)

One night I walked in a moderate rain without an umbrella or poncho, so when I got home I was completely soaked. It was so fun and liberating! Had I lived with my parents I would've gotten in trouble.

There is one downside to walking home alone at night. I love ghost stories, and often times my imagination runs wild. Occasionally I hear strange noises and see shadows moving around me which freak me out.

One night it was kinda misty. I saw a woman wearing a white nurse's uniform including a cap with a red cross on it, like from a bygone era, crossing the street several feet in front of me. I thought it was strange, and it wasn't close to Halloween or anything. Then when I blinked she just vanished.

I was like wtf? The thing is, I had never read a story or watched a movie with a scene like that. I freaked and ran the rest of the way home. For a while I didn't dare walk that road and took a longer route home. I eventually went back, and haven't seen "her" again.

Mrs Tanaka was right, the stock room floor is really dirty, and so are my feet after working in there. As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm no longer anal about keeping my feet clean. They only get washed when I take a shower which I don't do every day. So ya, that's a special treat for you who like dirty feet :p which reminds me of an interesting experience I once had at work.

Most of the time customers don't even see my bare feet since I stay behind the counter. But every once in a while someone would ask me to find a particular item for them which would require me to walk around. So one day a young guy (likely a student) walked in and he was looking around for a few minutes. So I finally asked him if he needed help. He was looking for a particular brand of canned fish which I wasn't sure we still had. So I had to walk out from behind the counter with my bare feet in his plain sight.

"Oh wow, your not wearing shoes!" he said.

"Nope, hate them," I said with a soft giggle.

"They let you work barefoot?"

"U-huh..." I replied smiling, trying to be as nice as possible. But I knew his type and they often make me feel uneasy, yet their fun to observe.

His eyes were glued to my feet. When I got to the shelf, I had to kneel down cuz the item he wanted was on the bottom. My filthy soles were now on display, and I think his eyes almost popped out. I bet he was drooling too, lol. When I handed the item to him I could see his hands shaking a little. I glanced at his c r o t c h and saw a bulge.

After he left Michelle said, "I think that guy has a foot f e t i s h, he couldn't get his eyes off your feet."

"Hahaha, for sure! I meet them all the time. In real life and online," I replied and told her what I saw. We both laughed hysterically.

Ok guys, now clean up your mess! :p

From paradise Hawaii this is Sharleen reminding you that life is magical. So...

Aloha, and have a magical day!

I'm now working full time and still barefoot

Enjoy going barefoot? Check out this book!


The Barefoot Book