Thursday, April 14, 2011
Psss ... you chasin'?
Melbourne Air Traffic Control must have pricked up their radars recently with the number of unregistered, airborne objects appearing above the city's inner north. It seems we can't turn a corner around here at the moment without seeing pairs of running shoes, laces tied together, hanging from the power-lines.
I've never quite understood what this is all about; in my day, the odd occurrence would likely have been the result of a weedy, unpopular kid with new sneakers having wandered across the path of the neighbourhood toughs; the latter having seen fit to take advantage of the former's lowly social status by forcibly removing the offending footwear before an audience of admiring sycophants, and launching it to the heavens.
But this could never be the explanation for the modern-day appearance of these 'pedal stalactites' all over our suburb. For starters, the sheer volume of hanging shoes would mean that there were too many unpopular youths to make up a critical mass of social strata such that there wouldn't be anyone left over to rule. Furthermore, the local toughs would have had to outsource their bullying responsibilities to independent contractors in order to meet the necessary quotas for juvenile public ridicule, and the current government requirements for meeting basic safety standards for commercial contractors would be beyond the means of most 12-15 year olds. So there has to be another explanation for this urban phenomenon.
A friend of mine suggested that hanging shoes were a sign that drugs were sold in the adjacent house. Indeed, a quick scan of the innernet suggests this to be a common belief in many parts of the world, but it's not clear to me whether the intention of the shoes would be for the dealers to advertise their location, or whether it was the doing of neighbourhood vigilante-types trying to expose these 'undesirables' to law enforcement authorities.
But I am afraid this all sounds pretty implausible. While I don't hold the Victorian Police in particularly high esteem, if the hanging shoes were a signal to prospective buyers, I do think the cops are at least capable of using Google to discover this, and subsequently initiating the biggest round-up of illicit drugs since Nancy Regan sat down to play Risk with Ron, and landed Afghanistan, Burma, Thailand and Colombia in the opening round.
The local, anti-drug vigilante option also doesn't sound too plausible given they have proven in the past that a limited grasp of the English language and a can of red spray paint works effectively enough.
And let's face it, if hanging shoes were a signal, either to the lazy, fat, donut-grease-stained coppers, or to people out chasing a score, then the vast number of these signals would indicate that every second person in my locale would be off their head on coke, smack, weed and meth, at any time of the day or night; my hood would be like Southeast Los Angeles during the annual LAPD Picnic – everyday!
There has to be another explanation, and I'm all ears. What I did find interesting today, though, was a particular pair of hanging shoes. I have mentioned before how people around here are just that little bit too cool, and that they like to stand-out by making an alternative, unique statement. Well, just around the corner from my home, hanging from the power lines is a pair of shoes much like all the rest, except this is a pair of lace-less, slip-on shoes, and someone has gone to great effort to sew some string to each one, before launching them over the wire. Perhaps it is a sign from a drug dealer trying to market their product as being something different from that sold at five or six other houses on the street. No doubt by December, it'll be flashing Christmas tree lights contributing the next breakthrough in the urban drug advertising war.
"Hey, anyone know where I can get some drugs around here?" Pic: http://www.jenius.com.au