Archive for May, 2014

Where do all the socks go?

May 21, 2014 2 comments

This is a mystery that has perplexed me for some time.  I have two feet, everyone in my house has two feet – except the dog and he doesn’t wear socks.  I’m not aware that any of us has a secret penchant for only wearing one sock at a time.  So it follows that socks should only go into the washing bag like the animals into Noah’s ark, two by two – and from there to the washing machine in pairs and from the washing machine onto the line or into the dryer in pairs.  But something goes wrong along the way, because when I come to put the laundry away, there are always odd socks.  To be fair, some have only become temporarily estranged from their partner, and the other sock turns up in the next wash or tucked inside a sleeve or attached to a velcro fastening.  But there is a hard core of partnerless socks which remains, sometimes for years, before I give up all hope and throw them out. 

And I would like to know where these socks go.

Is there a secret compartment in the washing machine that is full of odd socks?  Is there a resistance movement which picks off single socks as they spin round the drum and whisks them away to join the rebels in some hideaway?  Or does the washing machine or the dryer simply eat them as revenge for having to carry out such repetitive tasks without pay or holiday?  Is there a hit squad of squirrels which snatches them from the line?  Or maybe a thriving market among starlings for contraband socks to use as nest lining?  Do the missing socks spontaneously combust?  Or unravel? Or dissolve?

And then I got to thinking, that I also have metaphorical missing socks.  Those brilliant ideas, those flashes of inspiration that pop into my mind and excite me, that convince me they are the start of something big, the kernel of something glorious, those insights that when I come to pin them down, to put them into words, suddenly only amount to half of what I thought they were.  For years I have thought that it’s a flaw in me, my limitations as a writer, my lack of language, which makes it hard to nail my inspiration to the page, but now I am wondering if the same thing that pinches half my socks is stealing half my ideas too.

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