There are two types of people in the world: Those who stomp, and those who don’t. I am not a stomper - I pride myself on my ability to walk silently (I have few talents; I celebrate what I can), almost tip-toeing but not quite, imagining I’m a fairy or a princess. Or a burglar. If I’ve spent much time with you at my place or yours, it’s probable that I know whether or not you stomp, and, if you are a stomper, how stompy you are.
My husband’s a stomper. Usually he’s not too stompy, around a 6 out of 10 on the stomp-o-meter, but there are some mornings at 3am when he’s settling our son and the sound of his boom-boom-y footsteps suggest that some construction project has just started up in our hallway rather than the fact that he’s simply coming back to bed. Sometimes, if I concentrate hard enough, I’m pretty sure I can feel the floor moving as he pummels it with his feet.
I don’t completely understand stomping; pounding your heel into the floor seems like far more effort than stepping lightly. But I’m trying to be more positive, you see. Being so committed to rigorous research on this blog, I just asked my husband, “Are you aware of how heavily you tread?” He shook his head.
I tried again: “Are stompers just people who like a bass-y soundtrack to their movements?”
“Yes!” he replied, in an I-hope-this-will-satisfy-you-enough-to-leave-me-alone-because-you-may-have-noticed-that-I’m-actually-trying-to-watch-tv-right-now tone.
Me again: “Do you think it would be easy to learn not to stomp?”
Him: “No! Would it be easy for you to learn to stomp everywhere?!”
(I probably don’t need to point out here that interrogation is another one of my skills.)
My stepmother, Aura, is also a stomper. A very stompy stomper, in fact, scoring a consistent 8.5 on the stomp-o-meter on a regular day, and reaching maximum levels if she’s angry. As a petite person, these numbers are really quite impressive. When we were much younger, my stepsister and I found a way of using Aura’s stomping to our advantage in one particular house they lived in, where my sister’s room was separated from our parents’ by a huge kitchen (carpet-less floors are a stomper’s dream). We’d be up at crazy hours of the night (like, 10pm, sometimes even 10:30pm!!), chatting and reading Dolly magazines and giggling and listening to music and painting our nails, when we’d suddenly hear a BOOM! BOOM! signalling Aura’s heels hitting the floor in her bedroom and her imminent arrival at our door.
Because her stomping was so loud and the kitchen was so huge, we had enough warning every time to switch off the music, pack up the nail polish, throw the magazine and turn out the light, so that by the time she opened our door we were lying still in our beds, pretending to be fast asleep. If one of us was feeling particularly bold, we might even try a snore or some sleep-talking.
So I’m aware that there are some benefits to stomping. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly sensitive to the noise my husband is making as he walks, I imagine the ways that his stomping might be a positive thing for our neighbours downstairs, and picture us one day receiving a note saying, “If we hadn’t been woken by all that banging early this morning then I’d have forgotten to set my alarm for work! Thank you!” or maybe “I’ve been inspired by your decision to build in the wee hours of the morning and have taken up night-knitting - now I sleep during the day!” or maybe “I’m so THANKFUL you woke us with your footsteps last night, or else we probably never would have caught the fire that had started in our kitchen!”
It’s a stretch, but no one said squashing negative tendencies would be easy. Or did they? I must admit, I haven't looked into this at all.
Me: ”Did anyone say that squashing negative tendencies would be easy?”
My husband: ”That squashing what? What?!”
So there you go.
The picture's from here.