Note: The above photo is Not me. Why would I?
Back in the day, twentysomething years ago, during a cold winter; I developed arthritis in both my big toe joints; such that I could not bear the pressure of shoes.
The only solution I could think of, was to wear sandals; and because it was winter - to keep my feet warmer - I wore them with my bright coloured loop-stitched walking socks - red, bright blue, purple and other high visibility shades. It looked stupid, I felt stupid - but it was either that, or stop walking, stay at home all day.
I was a university lecturer at the time; and so I was going into work, teaching classes, and spending long coffee breaks with colleagues, wearing this unignorably grotesque outfit. I sheepishly padded into college. And yet...
And yet, Nobody Ever Mentioned It. Nobody asked why I was wearing sandals in the middle of winter, with such garish socks; none of the students, my co-workers nor even friends poked fun at my footwear.
At first I was relieved to escape the merciless ribbing and ridicule, to which I expected to be subjected. Then the horrible truth dawned on me.
The horrible truth was that everybody assumed that this - wearing sandals and bright-thick socks in the middle of the winter - was just the kind of thing that they expected me to do. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing worth commenting on...
It was a chilling insight, and I am chilled now just thinking about it. But by then it was too late to explain; my toes got better; and I returned to the usual shoes or boots.