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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Nephew and the Argyle

I became giddy getting dressed this morning. I found a pair of matching socks.

About five years ago I gave up on wearing socks that match. In my new nonchalant life, I do go so far as to select foot coverings that are at least in the same shade range: black or dark gray; deep blues; the browns; the reds; similar print patterns; and white, of course, for golf. Some days, though, overcome with fashion apathy, I close my eyes and pull two socks out of the drawer, which is when I end up with a pink sock and a black sock. I've never been accused of being in vogue in the clothes department and this unmatching sock trend of mine isn't helping my reputation any. You get to a certain age, however, when you just don't care anymore.

I decided to forgo wearing legitimate sock pairs because the process of keeping track wore me out. I think it was the great Erma Bombeck who wrote about being an intelligent woman feeding socks two by two into the washer and how, when the load left the dryer, five socks, or seven socks, or some other odd number of socks would emerge. Jerry Seinfeld also used the mysterious sock dilemma of humans in his standup, something about socks realizing, in the dry cycle, that this was their opportunity to escape. I'm certainly not qualified to explain how socks get separated and disappear anymore than Erma or Jerry. All I know is that for years I had laundry baskets (yes, plural) full of nothing but odd socks. Every few months I'd take an afternoon at the dining room table and lay all the socks in organized lines, always finding many mates, and always having at the conclusion of this domestic adventure six dozen lone tubes in rainbow colors. I would tie the strays together and throw them back into the baskets, and put the baskets back into a closet, hoping somehow on laundry day next the wandering mates would reappear (ref: "Stuff" on this blog, 4-22-11).

So I gave up. It's freeing, really, to abandon footwear worries. Occasionally someone will point out the mismatched look, and now, as a secure female in her fifties, I shrug and say "Oh who cares." It isn't like I'm wearing ragged underthings that are discovered in an unanticipated emergency room visit. They're socks, for god sake. To quote the young (or those who've run out of intelligent commentary), whatever.

As a final observation: I have a sneaking suspicion where some of my socks have gone. One day I was visiting with my nephew and he crossed one ankle over his knee (this is the nephew, by the way, who lived with me for several years). There peeking out from the hem of his jeans was a familiar sight, a lovely dark blue argyle. I couldn't see his other ankle, but I knew there was no match there as the sock's significant other was resting quietly in a clothes basket upstairs, tied together with other cast-offs, patiently awaiting the return of its twin, now residing on the hairy hoof of my beloved and thieving family member. 

Maybe that was the day I gave up on matching socks, the Day Of The Nephew And The Argyle. I knew then this was a battle I could not win. Even so, there was a moment of secret pride that the boy got a bit of his personality from me: clearly, he's also decided wearing matching socks is a waste of time.

1 comment:

I said...

Ah, yes. Your nephew loved your blue argyles so much he stole one of them. The Grey Gardens story continues.

About Me

Newspaper columnist; blogger; author of Delta Dead; author of 101 Tip$ From My Depression-Era Parents; author of Australian Fly; editor: ...And I Breathed (author, Jason Garner, former CEO of Global Music at Live Nation), "A History of the Lawrence S. Donaldson Residence"; "The Port Washington Yacht Club: A Centennial Perspective"; "The Northeastern Society of Periodontists: The First Fifty Years"; editor: NESP Bulletin; editor: PWYC Mainsail; past editorial director: The International Journal of Fertility & Women's Medicine; past editor of: Long Island Power & Sail, Respiratory Review; Medical Travelers' Advisory; School Nurse News; Clear Images; Periodontal Clinical Investigations; Community Nurse Forum