The informant has a lot of different parts of her background which influence her. Her family is Haitian and Comorian (an island off the coast of Africa) and she is still close with family who live in those places and visits often. She grew up for the first 10 years of her life in the U.S., but then spent the rest of her life living in Paris, France until she decided to come to school in the U.S. She likes to say that she’s a hodge-podge of different identities. She learned this superstition from her mother who she says has tons of different superstitions about the world.
The informant brought up this superstition when she saw one of our friends walking around with only one sock on. She freaked out a little bit and said that she should take off her sock or put on another one immediately. Everyone was laughing as she described it, including her.
So, my mom always taught me that, um.. You’re never supposed to walk around with one sock or one shoe on and not the other because it means that, your — that one of your parents is going to leave, or die, or.. something. Basically, you’ll be– you’ll have one parent away, because you have two shoes like you have two parents and if you get rid of one of the shoes that you’re supposed to have, just like you’re supposed to have your two parents, then something bad is gonna happen.
When the informant discussed this superstition, she was laughing about it. However, the informant still does avoid the behavior that the superstition describes as bad luck and even tells other people to heed the superstition, as well. In this way, it appears that there is another reason she is performing this folk belief other than actually believing it. As she consistently mentions her mother when describing the superstition, I would guess that performing this folk belief, for her, has something to do with the connection to her mother.