I like wearing shoes. I feel inadequately clad without them. Also, exposed, vulnerable, and other words expressing feelings of that sort.
That said, I will remove my shoes willingly when I am entering a House Of Shoelessness. No problem; it is the custom of the place, and the house is set up to make shoelessness minimally perilous.
But at Atherton Court (which, as I have explained elsewhere on this Blaugh, is what Alec and self call our unpretentious suburban dwelling, because, though the house is unpretentious, we ourselves are far from this particular state of grace), the local culture is very much one of shoe-wearing. Alec is barely ever out of his steel-toed boots; I am barely ever out of whatever shoes have caught my fancy at the moment. Combine this info with the further facts that Alec is Not Neat, and that I am the messiest person I know, and certain other conditions bearing on shoe-wearing can perhaps be inferred.
It is, in short, dangerous to walk around at our house without some sort of protective footwear. See, Alec and I don’t notice all of the little beads, splinters of wood, sharp scraps of plastic, metal shavings, etc., that we scatter liberally about us as we pursue our various hobbies. We wear shoes at all times, and thus, unregarding, trample the detritus underfoot. Since vacuuming sends our cat into paroxysms of terror, we don’t do it all that often. Actually, now that I reflect on the matter, we didn’t vacuum much even before The Coming Of The Cat. With a moment’s further reflection, I trace our disinclination to vacuum to three factors: My Essential Laziness, Alec’s High Mess-Tolerance, and Our Mutual Anxiety That We Might Need Some Of Those Bits At Some Future Date.
Now, all of this, though not optimal, would be more or less fine, if we didn’t have any visitors of the shoe-removing type. However, by some perverse twist of fate, nearly all of our friends are shoe-removers. They learn, sometimes through pain, that they Can’t Do That Thar Here.
So, my point, if any, is this: when visiting a friend, mimic the custom of the household in the matter of footwear. The cleanliness or otherwise of a house will be, in part, based upon these customs.