Thursday, March 18, 2010

Life As A Sock

Something horrendous happened last night- a sickening realization;

After a lengthy day of presentations, meetings, classes and other school-related crap, I could take no more and left at around 8:00 pm. I ran out of the building so quickly that I only realized, once home, that I had left my computer’s battery charger plugged into a desk in a classroom at school.

Once I made it home, I quickly did as much pending school work as I could- until my poor computer went into “reserve battery” mode- at which point, I quickly typed out a to-do list, emailed my Spanish professor telling him I would be unable to do my final presentation tomorrow (due to tonight’s technical difficulties)- and shut down my baby (computer) for the first time in two years.

1.     I finally realized how attached I am to my computer. I am lost without it. The Internet is one thing- it’s my lifeline. But my computer- well, that's my soul. Sad, huh?

2.     I didn't know what to do with myself. It was the first time in years that I sat in an apartment alone- without a TV, without a computer, surrounded by a bunch of books I had already read.

It was just me- and my thoughts. (a dangerous combination.)

So what did I do?

I sorted socks.

I have an ongoing war with my washing machine, which I lovingly refer to as; “calcetín creatura” (sock monster)- i.e. he who eats all the socks. Well, not all the socks, just one sock of each pair- leaving me with mountains of mismatched clean socks.

From my first ever wash in Barcelona back in August 2008, until now, I have been saving these lonesome socks. (yes, I’m a packrat- and I hold on to the hope that one day, I will walk into the apartment and the washing machine monster will give my socks back to me)…so I collect them and put them in a big shopping bag under my bed.

Tonight- I decided- was the night that my socks would find their mates.

Now, I’m sure you thought that the no-computer part of the evening was the horrifying “thing” that happened to me. And as bad as THAT was…it got worse…

Of course, like many small things that we do or think or see, they signify something else- something much greater. So take this “sock metaphor” as you will…make it yours- and possibly, you will see the distressing experience from my perspective:

There I was, innocently sitting in front of a pile of socks. They were all perfectly good socks: clean, undamaged, cute, comfy, warm, etc…basically, all the things a sock should be.

I did happen to find a few perfect pairs towards the beginning of the exercise- at which point, I rolled them together and placed them neatly into the sock drawer. As time went on, I found less and less mates for my socks and although they were meticulously spread out in order (by size, color, material and length) along my bed- I was reaching the end of the twosomes.

So then, what did I do? I attempted to find the socks that seemed the most alike- the ones that would not cause people to laugh at me should I wear them together and take my shoes off at airport security. (this has happened to me before).

Therefore, the short blues went with the short blues, the tall blacks went with the tall blacks, and so on and so forth…

Before long, even those not-so-perfect pairs were all folded and placed in the sock drawer.

When this was done, I looked down and I had at least 50 individual socks that looked nothing like each other. Their companions were not to be found.

As much as I hated to throw them away- because they were, in fact, perfectly good socks- (they just happened to be single socks), I realized that it was time for the mass exodus to the dump.

So that's what I did. I went to throw them away. And as I was walking to the garbage bins down the street, with my trash bag full of perfectly good socks- it hit me…I may be a mismatched sock. Here’s the thing- maybe I did have my mate at one point…and I don't have it anymore. Maybe I am with the wrong sock somewhere in the sock drawer- Maybe I am with the wrong sock because I don't want to end up in the garbage can- and my current partner is “close enough” that people wont notice that we weren’t made to be together.

As for the sock that was made to be with me- well it’s not in my sock drawer. It’s nowhere near my sock drawer.

And what about all of the single socks? They had to be thrown away. What if, instead of finding their perfect companion, they were off getting an MBA??? What if they were busy traveling the world, exploring, learning…

What if, while all the other socks were being rolled into their pairs and settling into their cozy sock drawers, they were still trying to figure out what kind of sock they were- and where they belonged.

And for these individual socks…what generally happens is that by the time they make it to the right sock drawer, all the good socks are taken.

So in the end…in this 2 minute walk down the street to the garbage bins- I came to the conclusion that I would not, and could not, throw my socks away.

I turned around, walked back into the building, dragged my garbage bag full of socks back up the stairs, and I put them into the sock drawer with the rest of the mated socks.

I will never wear these socks. They will only be a cause of annoyance and grief while I am routing around the drawer at seven in the morning trying to find something that does match- but I just couldn't throw them out. I’m not giving up on them. I have to believe that their perfect mates are still somewhere out there…

1 comment:

Fievel said...

Having to wear matching socks is a social convention that has zero value-add to our lives.

What's wrong with wearing unmatched socks? I think it's kinda cool actually... =_-