dalekboy (dalekboy) wrote,

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100 Days of Love and Hate - Day 62

I like going barefoot. Always have. I'm a person who lives on a regular diet of delight in small things, and going barefoot gives me access to more of this - like the feel of the cool grass, all the different textures and temperatures of ground, the rich earth beneath my feet - I love it. Oh, sometimes the ground gets a bit hot, sometimes I get the odd bit of spiky grass or broken glass, and my feet get dirty, but overall, I really enjoy it.

But I'll tell you what shits me. It's the attitudes of people.

Going barefoot you get looks. It's like there's a whole secret negative story to the sort of people who go barefoot. "Oh, they're barefoot, that means they're poor, or have no self-respect, or are feral." Ok, I'll wear the feral attitude, I'm genetically scruffy. But I've seen people in their thongs, moccasins, ugboots and sneakers that are way more feral than I.

When I walk into a cafe, store, or some other place, and have a staff member tell me I need to wear shoes, I have no problem with that. I've worked in places where it was preferred that people not eat whilst in the shop, so it's fair enough if other places would like me to wear something on my feet. No problem. I carry dive shoes in my backpack for just this reason.

What I take exception to are the lies.

"Sorry, it's because of the insurance."
"Oh it's the occupational health and safety laws."
"I'd get into trouble with the health department."

See, there's a preconception they have that I'll just believe this. And maybe some of them believe what they're saying, too. But they are talking to someone who has done and had to read the fine print on insurance policies for $10,000,000. They're talking to someone who has read up on the Occupational Health and Safety Laws. They're talking to someone who trained as a meat inspector, which also takes in health and safety, even down to building requirements.

If a place says it needs footwear for insurance or occ health and safety, then what it's saying is that the environment is potentially dangerous. If it's potentially dangerous then the type of footwear has to be approved safety footwear. Not sneakers. Not even ordinary shoes. Certainly not thongs. That they are happy if I put on dive-shoes, which afford almost no protection, shows that they don't actually care, or have any idea what they are talking about. The fact that they allow people in wearing thongs and sandals is further proof.

As to the health department - behind the scenes and even behind the counter it may be a requirement - but it is not a health requirement for customers, unless they are to go into the working areas. And if you're going to say that bare feet are a health issue, then you bloody well better be prepared to monitor your customers and make sure they wash their bloody hands after going to the loo, because feet on the floor is substantially less of a health issue.

As I said, if they just said, "Look, we'd prefer you to wear shoes while here," not a worry. But I'm fast reaching the point where if I keep having rules and regulations thrown at me, I'm going to start quoting them back, and insisting they apply them to all their customers - if they really care about everyone's well-being so much.

Terry Pratchett
I'm talking here strictly about the man's writing, and that counts for his non-Discworld stuff, like Dark Side of the Sun which I rather enjoyed. But it's in Discworld where I find my love of humour, great characters, and interesting ideas, all meshed together in wonderful ways. That mix is one of the things I liked about Douglas Adams, and while there is a lot of humourous SF out there, I don't find much to my tastes.

So yes, I love his writing.

I don't think all Pratchett's work is great. I think the first three books in the Discworld series The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Equal Rites are reasonable, but it's the fourth book, Mort that is the must-read. I found the endlessly repeated message that war is bad in Jingo so overwhelming that it seriously decreased my enjoyment of the book.

But overall, he has a delicious turn of phrase, wrapped up in often enjoyable stories. And I have to mention that I consider the first two Tiffany Aching books, Wee Free Men and Hat Full of Sky to be amongst his best work ever.
Tags: books, identity, love & hate, rants

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