While I was loafing, I stumbled upon a fancy word, flâneur, pronounced fla-nyur. It’s French for loafer and I’m not talking shoes. Although, I suppose one could loaf around in a pair of loafers.
Sometimes my husband and I can be a pair of loafers. We were loafing on our patio, doing nothing, because that’s what loafers do and I said, “Have you noticed that little bird going in my flower pot and swishing around in the dirt?”
“No.” My husband answered. “I haven’t. But I’ve heard of birds that like to take dirt baths.”
“There are places all over the yard with dirt.” I said. “Why does he come to my flower pot?”
My husband looked at the flower pot, shrugged his shoulders and grinned.
“Maybe he’s potty trained?”
And that’s what happens when you loaf around too much, silliness sets in.
My mom and dad loaf around the house a lot. My sister likes loafers, but she’s not much for loafing. The only time she loafs is when she puts on her loafers and loafs at the casino, which is dangerously close to her house. Her loafers love loafing at the casino.
This loafing thing made me curious about the loafer style of shoes. Supposedly they originated in 1930 – the same year my parents originated. Maybe that’s why my mom likes loafers.
Spaulding styled them after shoes worn by Norwegian dairy farmers. I can’t imagine Norwegian dairy farmers being loafers, unless they were maybe making bread? Can I insert one of those smiley faces here?
Later, Bass made loafers with a strap that had an opening to hold something like, (drum roll please)… a penny. Thus, the penny loafer was born. At that time, pay phones (what? pay phones?), these devices history says pre-date cellphones and were operated by placing coins through a slot in the phone, cost a penny for a call. If a child needed to phone home, they extract two pennies from their loafers to do so.
I don’t know what compelled me to write about loafers. I don’t even wear them. But I do like my new word, flâneur, and I do like loafing. Summer is the perfect time for being flâneur. People do things in the summer that only appear as loafing, like reading, daydreaming, or lounging by a pool doing some serious thinking.
I hope you spent some time this summer being flâneur, because after all, isn’t that what summer is for?
Karen Tomas is a resident of Fort Mill. Email her at email@example.com.