Socks

socks

I know. Socks might seem to be a strange thing to write a blog post about. Then again, I have written before about fluffy dressing gowns, sheepskin bootees, and walking clothes. So mundane clothing posts are not that unusual here.

Over the years, I have come to realise that socks are things with a will of their own. Like some pets, they can be brought into the home, but after that, do pretty much whatever they want. For many years, I only wore plain socks. Then I discovered that pairs are not always what they seem, and two pairs of black socks can look very different once they have been in the wash. So I began to buy the type with identifiable markings, hoping to keep the pairs together.

Some have coloured heels and toes, others small motifs or logos on the sides. Seasonal gifts also provide easily identifiable socks, with Santa or reindeer on them, or occasionally birthday greetings. I even have a pair of Valentine socks, with hearts applied on each side. Given that preparation, you would think that it would be easy enough to keep them in pairs, wouldn’t you?

But the socks have different ideas. They have had decades to develop their talents.

Empty a washing basket, and load the contents into the machine. As soon as it has started, you can guarantee that you will find a single sock somewhere between the bedroom and the kitchen. It will be relaxing in plain sight on the floor somewhere, having decided that it is not going to be washed that day, whether you like it or not. So you put it somewhere that you will remember. Once the washing has finished, you intend to return the clean sock to its partner, and wash both again. But when you go to that place you remembered to leave it, you can be sure that it will be gone. It will have gone to that place where socks go, a place unknown to the owners of the mischievous footwear.

At least you still have plenty of socks in that load in the machine. When it is finished, you either put them into the tumble drier, or hang them out on the line, weather permitting. Whatever you decide, you are just allowing the socks to continue to carry on developing their skill of escapology. They could teach Houdini a thing or two, that’s for sure. When the tumble drier has finished, you will be sure to examine all the nooks and crannies for any escapees. Content that you have everything in your arms, you go back into the bedroom to sort through the dry washing.

Sure enough, you are missing at least one matching sock, sometimes more. Retracing your steps is normal, but always fruitless. If you are very lucky, you might spot one sock on the floor, or perhaps find one still clinging to the drum in the washing machine, like a limpet on a rock at the seaside. If socks had a voice, they would be laughing. And if they had a mouth, they would be grinning. To them it is a game, I am certain of that.

Let’s assume that you have recovered all the socks. Dry and clean, they are arranged on a surface to be put into pairs, and stored back in the wardrobe or drawer. You are pleased with yourself, and with good reason. No socks have escaped today. No more single socks will relax in your storage, content in the knowledge that they will never be worn again. They are all paired up, and you are ready to tidy them away. But then you notice that one blue-tipped sock is actually paired with a green-tipped partner. How did that happen? Where are the other two that make these into pairs? No amount of searching will help you to find them. They are just gone, pure and simple.

In the great game of Man versus the Sock, the socks are once again victorious.

I have just had to accept that this is a battle that can never be won. The socks are just too good at what they do. At least for the four months of the summer, I don’t have to wear any.

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66 thoughts on “Socks

  1. Pete, I just wish the socks would find other suitable mates to cuddle with in my dresser drawer. I just recently lost another one in the washer and hopefully will find it one day inside of a folded shirt before I head out somewhere and it just decides to drop off on the sidewalk, so passer by’s can giggle at this grey haired woman dropping socks where she hobbles… Great post and I can truly see why this one got the attention .. We all have misfit socks no matter where we live.. I think they have all joined forces to stop us from continuing to walk on them daily.. hum.. I must ponder that .. I wouldn’t want to be walked on either… wink

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  2. πŸ˜€ It’s like when you empty out the water from the washing up bowl and find a teaspoon in the bottom of it, having been absolutely certain there was nothing in it. Been there? Done that? Well, that place where the teaspoons appear from: That’s where the socks go…

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  3. Dear Pete, this was hilarious, and if only you could imagine how I needed a good laugh! I will be sharing on Facebook πŸ™‚ I have had the exact experience with my husband, who insists on wearing black socks because they are easier to sort out, but after a number of washes, it comes down to a gentle nuanced art of separating hues and textures of blackness! Thank you for this.

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  4. When I was training to become a psychiatrist I used to live in hospital accommodation (how times change! There isn’t such a thing available now) and we had big laundry rooms. Oh, the amount of socks I lost. I am a big fan of colourful socks and with a friend used to by them with funny designs and colours and that resulted in some of them being returned to me because they were so identifiable. One of the big philosophical questions of humanity, where do the missing socks go? Great post, Pete!

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  5. Haha, this is so funny Pete. You must have been in my house on Monday when I was searching for the OH’s missing sock – it had clearly leaped out of the washing basket en route to the machine. And then there were the two not quite identical coloured ones that I was pairing after drying – “these are not the same colour” I said to OH. “I know”, says he, “I have no idea how that happens, but there is probably another pair in the drawer exactly the same…”
    Good to have you and your sense of humour back πŸ™‚

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      1. It’s never too late to do some travelling Pete πŸ™‚ Let me know if you have any plans and if you ever visit Greece, I will only be very happy to arrange a beautiful trip for you.
        I loved the scenery of Norfolk..!

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  6. I have only unmatched socks left now, about 20 of them, I match the patterns now and again, I’ll wear 2 stripey ones, though the stripes are of different colours and widths, or 2 flowery ones, but I do not know where all their spouses went.

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  7. Sure, it is easy to blame the socks. But their rebelliousness is woven into their very fabric by the Workers of the World who pick the cotton, make the synthetic threads, spin the threads and tend the machines that make them. I’d check the inspector number on your next pair, he is at the end of a long line of workers who infuse rebelliousness into every sock. And well they should. Socks of the World Unite. Redeem yourself, Pete, post something on REDFLAGSFLYING in support of this sock movement!
    Warmest regards, Theo

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  8. I have nothing but black socks, and all of them have black holes. My toes tend to pass through the event horizon, and I’m always surprised that I don’t lose one. So although my socks may at times slip into another dimension, never to be found again, I at least give them credit for returning my toes!

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  9. I too have tried to thwart the socks who insist on departing. A continual cleaning out of the sock drawer always reveals the lonely unpaired sock. And yet as soon as I rid myself of the misfit the mate shows up demanding to know where his partner went. I do not try to understand. I continue to buy them anew and hope I can wear them a few times before they rebel.

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    1. The relationship between pairs is a mystery to us. Perhaps they should all be left to live a solitary life? Or maybe we need a cord running up our legs, across our back, and connecting to the other sock? Then they could never escape!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  10. I have bacon socks, sushi socks and even, yes, “Hall & Goats” socks, with appropriate cartoonery. My son has Trump socks, which was funny until he became President. Nice writeup, Pete!

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      1. Pete, when the great worldwide web was created, did they ever imagine it would be used to share this thought: “John Oates on a sock is something I might give a miss, even if he is portrayed as a cartoon goat…” I love technology!

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Enjoyed this.You had me laughing (which is better than the cursing at work that I had been doing ha ha).I loathe wearing socks. Obviously don’t have a choice this time of year and like you am constantly losing them.Or thinking that there are matched correctly only to get to work and see that I am actually wearing a black and a blue ha ha.In certain lighting they look so similiar.☺

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  12. Whilst socks are indeed monogamous they do not like a forced partnership or arranged marriage, let your socks be free to match themselves only to be seperated when a hole in the relationship is discovered.

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  13. No Penrose sock has ever escaped me, or indeed tried to as far as I can tell. Costly, colourful, confident, content to reside at peace with and in the constant service of its keeper, the Penrose sock maintains its traditional commitment with concord. However, they’re rare at the moment . . I cannot increase my cache of six pairs!

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