Dropping Shoes

Well, that one horrid thing happened. And now, there’s the threat of more grief to follow. Murder hornets, you say.

There’s a well-used expression to describe this feeling of impending doom: ‘Waiting for the other shoe to drop’.  But, why shoes? Where does that phrase originate?



Have you ever lived in an apartment with noisy upstairs neighbours? There’s our answer.

The ‘waiting for the other shop to drop’ comes from early 1900’s America. The upstairs neighbour returns to his bare-bones apartment – late at night, exhausted. He drops his heavy work boot on the wooden floor – boom! – and you’re awake. No point going back to sleep until he wrestles the other dirty shoe off his big feet and hurls it on the floor too. So you wait. And wait.

In one nefarious version of the story, the boorish neighbour knows his shoes wake you. He throws one down, waits for your angry groans, then ever so quietly sneaks off the other lead-soled shoe and tiptoes to bed, knowing that you’ll be lying awake, waiting for crash #2.


Header: A Pair of Boots. Vincent Van Gogh. 1887


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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton