Monday, March 21, 2016

The Situation of Socks

We have been watching a lot of Parks and Recreation, so much so that I often find myself coming up with Perdism’s throughout the day.  I can’t write this story without recalling the moment I was inspired to put pen to paper…  

It begins...
I was walking through the living room and saw a pair of tiny socks on the floor.  I frowned, stooped to grab them, and was greeted with the site of another, larger sock underneath the coffee table.  I grabbed that too.  I walked through into the kitchen: a pair of folded socks on the kitchen counter.  Having captured this errant hosiery as well, I bore my increasing burden through the pantry, damn it, another pair of tiny socks discarded, one on top of the dog food container and one perilously close to the dog’s water bowl.  I retrieved them, one slightly damp, and, increasingly suspicious that I was following the trail of some monstrous leprechaun or mischievous sock faerie, I continued my way upstairs.  

There, underneath the banister.  A veritable cache of tiny person stockings.  All told, I had about ten pairs of socks in my arms to deliver to the washer after a two minute walk through the house, and the Perdism came to me.

I have a situation, which means a problem, and that problem is with the situation, which means a location, of socks, which are mittens that you put on your feet.

Why?  Why are there socks everywhere?  Why do I put socks on my children only to have them shed within minutes?  Don’t they understand that even though it is spring it is still like 60 degrees in our house?!

Another pocket of castaways.
Perhaps it is because socks are, historically, the most loathed of all garments to a child.  Coming in a close second are underwear and anything with a tag on it.  I know this because I have two siblings, and between the three of us we were constantly tortured by socks, underwear and tags in our youth.  I have very specific memories of trying to get out of wearing socks, of putting them on while my parents were watching and then hiding them in spots when I thought they weren't looking and trying to run outside before they noticed.  Of course, this never worked, and what ensued was a battle royal in the laundry room just off the garage.  

I would be told that we were not going to school/the store/a party/hiking/etc until I put on my socks.  Then I would writhe on the laundry room floor in agony until one or both of my parents forcibly placed them on my feet.  Then I would writhe in greater agony because the offensive garments were killing me.  They.  Were.  Killing.  ME!

Anyone out there feeling me?  Anything else out there know what it is about socks that is absolutely unbearable to sensitive young toes?

Is the seam the issue?

Yes, that’s right.  The seam.

The fucking seam.  The root of all evil.  It chafes your toes, it digs into them, and God forbid your socks should ever get turned around and the seam should become off center.  That was the worst.  Stop everything.  Literally.  I have to take my shoe off and adjust my sock or I will go insane and start throwing things.  Underwear and t-shirt tags were the same.  They were always touching you, itching you, or tickling you.  If your parents cut them off then that inevitable 1 cm leftover was even worse.  If they ripped out the tags then your clothing disintegrated in the next wash.  It was a lose lose lose.

All I can say about recent advancements in the textile industries is thank God that we have learned how to mass produce socks without toe seams, and print ink labels on the backs of t-shirts and underwear.  This is a life saver for parents of tortured children and parents who were formerly tortured children everywhere.  Well, everywhere our first world problem having, entitled,  ridiculously tortured by good clothing asses can afford to buy seam and tag free clothing, that is.

Maybe it is not the seam that is the culprit here.  Perhaps it is just the nature of our two girls that they want to be barefoot, free to feel the carpet and wood under their feet at home, the grass and mud between their toes outside, and the hot, sticky chafe of the inside of their shoes in direct contact with their skin.  Perhaps they don’t understand that the foot can produce a quarter of a pint of sweat in one day (GROSS) or that heat is lost through their feet at a higher rate because of the greater surface area of their toes!

Or maybe temperature regulation is the issue.  Now that I am old and beginning to waste away I wear socks almost year round, especially to bed.  Double thick wool in the winter and light running socks in the summer, but the socks are always on.  If I get into bed without socks, I feel like my toes immediately turn into ice cubes, and the rest of my body heat is sucked down through my ice cube toes and lost to the ether (don’t question me on the science of this, I don’t care).  However, my eldest must run a few degrees warmer than I do, because even when our house is 60 degrees she sheds her socks as soon as she comes in the door because they make her feet sweat and they are too hot.  MOM THEY ARE TOO HOT!

The final cache, mere feet away from the washing machine.
Well, regardless of wether their feet are being attacked by demon seams, they just want to run around like naked little fairies,or the socks are melting their feet off of their bodies, the crux of the matter is not the why, but the where.  Or, rather, the why of the where.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but why do they have to leave their socks all over the God damn house?!?  They have sock drawers.  They have laundry baskets.  They can both reach the washing machine, and, point of fact, regularly indulge in the pleasure of throwing clean clothing and random non-clothing items into the washing machine just because they can.  But can they, when directed, put a dirty sock into any one of these many acceptable receptacles?
Of course not.

My daughters, and, I believe, most children, are still more like faeries than human.  As J. M. Barrie pointed out faeries can only be bad or good at one time, “because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time.”  Children are like that when they are young.  Their bodies are so small and their feelings and thoughts are so big, that much of the time they only have room enough for one at a time.  The socks are scratchy, chaffing, hot, restricting their sense of freedom — they come off.  The next moment they are borne away on the back of another whim, sensation, or fit of imagination and the socks are left behind on a stairway or behind a couch cushion.

Knowing this, however, doesn’t keep me from getting frustrated at the growing number of missing socks in sock drawers or the frequency with which I stumble upon strays.  But it does keep me from threatening to throw away the errant hosiery that I do find.  Afterall, if I am wrong about their one track minds, then such a feint on my part would be playing right into their hands.  If they are sneakier than I think, then that might be what they had in mind all along…

Whimsical faeries or nefarious villains?  The jury is out...

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