Tonight I was in a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and a guy was there wearing flip-flops. As we walked down the hall he flapped loudly along, drawing our attention down to floor level, and we all got to admire his feet.
Call me a crank, but I think a guy wearing flip flops in a hospital at night is unforgivably impolite. I don’t mind people of both sexes wearing flip flops at a pool, or on the beach, or at an informal backyard barbecue on a hot summer night. I give kids a pass, too. But there is a time and a place for everything, and a grown man wearing flip flops in a public building when the temperature is about 56 degrees outside is just not right. When you add in the fact that it’s a hospital it seems even more inappropriate.
I know we’ve gotten increasingly informal in our society and become accepting of things that once would have been unthinkable. I’m old enough to remember when people actually got dressed up for airplane flights; now when you board a plane you often feel like you’ve intruded upon an over-sized sweatpants modeling convention. We’ve become a society of appalling slobs.
I recognize that, in the grand scheme of things, a guy wearing flip-flops in a hospital at night isn’t the worst offense a person can commit — but I also believe in the “broken windows” theory that holds that little things, if left uncorrected, can lead to social disorder. A guy wearing flip-flops is a harbinger of chaos. This is where we need to draw the line.