By Richard Coca
I have recently begun to walk around campus barefoot in order to get a better feeling of the university — literally, that is. In trying to ground myself, I have found that walking around barefoot is actually quite liberating. With the return of the sun, wearing sandals felt like heaven. Walking around barefoot is beyond the celestial and something much more cosmic. To walk on the pavement after just having gone fountain hopping feels like divine justice. Without further ado, here are the best places on campus to walk around barefoot.
It’s Tuesday. You just came from a run and the Claw was, in particular, calling your name. You knew you probably shouldn’t, but then again isn’t being wet from fountain hopping better than being sweaty? You jump in, but now that your feet are wet, you can’t put your socks and shoes back on, so you walk barefoot towards the farmer’s market. You check out the fresh produce while people glance at your feet. Yes, it’s probably weird that I’m carrying my shoes in one hand and hummus in another, but it be like that sometimes.
2. Old Union
It’s Wednesday. You are thinking about jumping into the Claw (again). There is no farmer’s market today, but you do see that there are a bunch of tourists walking around campus, taking pictures of the Claw and Old Union. So naturally, you put on a show. You jump into the Claw and the paparazzi soon follow. Whispers of “What is he doing?” encourage you to enjoy your own company, and you can’t help but smile at how stupid you can be sometimes. As you walk barefoot back to your dorm, there’s a bit of the “walk of shame” element going on, but the smile from the stranger on the way back makes it worth it.
3. Coupa Cafe
It’s Thursday. You decide to shake things up again and after your run this time, you kind of want to get the full water immersion experience, so you go to the red hoop fountain by Green Library. After quickly “showering” in the fountain, you decide to use your new profound liberation to get an “arepa” at Coupa Cafe. The individual taking your order doesn’t notice your recently liberated feet, but you can feel the newfound independence as you wait for your order at a table. As “Japanese Denim” plays, you can’t help but reflect on how good life feels at the moment. Spring quarter is barefoot season, and as you eat, you feel like a child again. As flashbacks to your childhood beach days begin, your bare feet keep you grounded to the memories of your family and remind you that the reason you’re at Stanford is because of them. The reason you’re happy is because of them.
4. Meyer Green
It’s Friday. Today is your day off, so you decide to tan for another two hours. Although you know you shouldn’t nap there for that long, you do anyway. It also feels amazing to walk across Meyer Green and chat with the occasional friend that pops by. As your feet walk on top of Meyer Green’s luscious lawn, your toes can’t help but relish in the blades of grass. Everything feels natural and you’re reminded of how lucky you are.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but as spring quarter progresses, I invite you to join me in taking more “study breaks” and returning to the outdoors. Ground yourself, if you will, and feel how right it feels to walk barefoot.
Contact Richard Coca at richcoca ‘at’ stanford.edu.