Tuesday, 12 January 2010

A Grumpy View of Socks

I think there must be a one-legged gnome living in our washing machine who steals socks. How else do you explain one of the great, imponderable mysteries of the universe? Pairs go in, but emerge as lonely singletons, sad and forlorn. We have plastic carrier bags stuffed full of odd socks, which I keep in the hope that the missing partners might return - or I perhaps l will be able to find a use for them.

The Man of the House, likes his footwear to come in twos – anything less, he feels, is deficient. He even took to buying dozens of identical pairs, which festered at the bottom of the washing basket, awaiting the day when they would be washed, all together. That way, he reasoned, the problem would be solved and his socks would march out, two by two, in an orderly fashion.

Sadly, he was quickly disabused of this theory, for on the appointed day of the Great Sock Wash out tumbled a tangled mass of…. ODD SOCKS! No two were the same. Each was a different hue, and they came in various sizes, shapes and textures.

Fortunately The Daughters have happier dispositions and, over the years, have taken to wearing odd socks with the insouciance that only the young possess. Not so much a fashion statement, more a matter of necessity. Were I to do the same it would not be regarded as stylish or quirky. I t would merely confirm my role as a batty old lady.

Occasionally, however, a dejected wanderer does return, limply sliding from the machine where it has been slyly hiding among other garments.

By the time I spot it, alas, it is far too late and the escapee has left its indelible mark on the rest of the washload – recently a duvet cover, sheet and pillow cases took on a rather fetching shade of pink, acquired from a red sock, while much of underwear is a less pleasing shade of grey.

And that raises another question. Why, when the colour comes out of socks, does it become immovable the moment it seeps into other fabrics – yet the socks will continue to ‘run’ through innumerable washes?

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