Sunday, September 10, 2006
Deconstructing Sock Washing Practices Among the Savages
The people I live with have this paralyzing fear of losing socks in the wash. One of them carefully ties the socks together into a knot before placing them in the hamper. My objection to this is that it seems to me that would trap toe dirt in the toe-side of the knot, preventing the dirt from falling out of the top of the sock as it tumbles around in the washing machine. Another person, apparently having detected this flaw in the knotted sock scenario, prefers to use a safety pin to connect the toes of each sock firmly together. Presumably the pinning is also done after wearing and before discarding socks in the hamper. (Otherwise, walking would be impaired, eh?)
Then, at the other end of the crazy sock scale, there are some people I know that make it a practice never to wear a sock with it’s natural mate. They revel in the anarchy of mismatched socks. They flaunt their disdain of convention in public every time they cross their legs sitting in those café chairs on the sidewalk outside Starbucks, sipping their latte. Smug hippies, trying to prove your free spirit and distinguish yourselves from the rest of your sock-wearing society.
For all my own fears and insecurities, here’s one practice in which I think my own approach is more “normal.” Why not simply let the socks run free of their mates in the hamper-washer-dryer part of their life cycle? They can joyfully reunite when the pile of clean laundry is sorted and folded on the bed and waiting to be put away. Sitting in the cozy sock drawer waiting to be worn, they reminisce about their time apart and tell stories about how the underpants misbehave in the washer.
You might say that this way, there’s the risk that one of the pair will be sucked through that hole in the space-time continuum of the dark swirl of the dryer. Each time they say their farewells as they’re tossed into the hamper might be the last. But isn’t that half the fun? Life is risk. Live a little, I say. I think my socks are healthier and happier for it. I know I am.