My new Christmas slippers are like little mangers for my feet, warm and welcoming. There is nothing to say the labours of the day are over more than when you get back home and find your slippers waiting for you, comfortingly where you left them. Or is this really the case?
Slippers have a secret life too, a darker side that only a privileged few know about. When they are alone in the home they rummage through your papers and drawers looking for evidence of your own darker side, your own little secrets.
We enjoy a relationship that is superficially cosy, sharing little jokes and making personal references that convey our faux closeness. Below the surface we are each secretly plotting how to out-wit the other. Sometimes the tell-tale signs can be very subtle, such as the slippers not being exactly aligned as I left them in the morning. On their more brazen or careless days, they could be facing the wrong way entirely.
With a nod to Ronald Laing’s “Knots”, we are playing a game of pretending we are not playing a game. Please don’t be tricked into thinking that slippers are stupid – they have all day to cogitate about agitating. And, with a nod this time to Flann O’Brien’s “The Third Policeman”, the more you wear them, the more of you they absorb – and vice-versa too, of course.
(Literary note – in his brilliant surrealist novel, O’Brien introduces us to the atomic theory of the bicycle, whereby there is a mutual exchange of molecules between rider and bicycle, until at some point the balance shifts such that the rider is more bicycle than person and the bicycle is more human than bike).
Now, I am of course plotting to replace my slippers again next year. What is not generally known is that this apparent ritual is not driven by the natural wear and tear of the slippers, it is rather a pre-emptive strike, ensuring that the slippers do not become more me than me, and most importantly that I (and, by extrapolation, other habitual slipper wearers) do not become more slipper. Nothing less than the future of humanity is at stake. I am sure we have all witnessed or heard of people who have become their slippers, feigning cosy relationships and barely moving out of alignment. I rest my case – and for now, my feet in my new Christmas slippers.