Hope in a basket

Sometimes a random thought will strike me and I will head to Facebook – the uber-depository of all random thoughts – to fling it out into cyberspace and see what comes back by way of comment. A couple days ago, after walking past the overflowing Missing in Action Sock Basket, I wondered aloud on Facebook what would happen if I just chucked the whole thing. I mean, really. Why do I keep those unpartnered socks month after month after endless month? What law is written in the heavens that demands I keep bachelored socks forevermore? What cataclysmic event do I hold at bay by keeping Unmatched Socks?

This is what I posted, expecting maybe one comment from my mother and perhaps one or two facebook friends:

What would happen if I just dumped the missing socks basket into the trash and didn’t look back? How long do you let a mateless sock pine away after its AWOL partner? I think I’ve been too generous. . .

That post is now at 46 comments. This staggering amount of opinions knocked my socks off, if you get my drift. I was unprepared for so many kindred hearts out there who struggle with the weighty moral issue of what to do with lonely socks. And amazed by those who’d thrown caution to the wind and tossed them, fates be darned, into the Abyss.  Here are some of the most telling responses, warnings and woe-is-mes:

  • From Cynthia: When you dump the missing sock basket in the trash, the others will turn up.
  • From Marcia: I’m sure the world would stop spinning on its axis. That’s why I have a pile of them still in my drawer!
  • From Leslie: Let ’em go, Susan. Let ’em go. It’ll feel so freeing, I promise!
  • From Brett: I actually have some in storage. But I am a firm believer in what Cynthia says…
  • From Kris: Use them as dust rags before you throw them away.
  • From:Bill: Don’t do it!!!! You’ll unleash forces beyond your knowledge! Save them! You MUST SAVE THEMMMMMM….
  • From Sean: Maybe their match is lying in our basket?
  • From Tim: I used to sit for hrs every Monday, after doing the laundry on the weekends, matching socks while watching evening TV. I found a few mates, had a sock war with my kids, and put the lonesome soldiers back in a bag for next week. Finally through most of them away, and purchased matching white socks for my three teen ge boys and myself. Made life simpler, but I missed the sock fights.
  • From Julie: Do it!
  • From Nora: Where do the socks go??? I took two off and put them in the hamper and then where do they go?? Do I really want to know??
  • From Amy: I think about doing this ALL the time!!!!!
  • From Donna: Get rid of them, don’t look back!
  • From Leah: I have tempted fate oh so many times. I throw socks away like candy wrappers.. . Somehow I don’t have the heart to tell them they don’t have a chance at finding a sole mate . . .
  • From Bob, my husband: Wait, I put all my singles in my sock drawer until I find it’s partner…we have a basket?

Do you sense what I sense here? What’s the deal with so many passionate opinions about socks that have lost their mates and therefore their purpose? Socks are forever being stripped of their usefulness by The Evil Twins (washer and dryer, of course) and yet we keep them, long after we’ve learned to get along just fine without them. .

We keep them because we have a vision of restored usefulness. We can imagine a day when what was lost is found. That’s called hope.

It’s not such bad thing to have one little nook in your life where hope rests. I walk past that basket every day. My little basket of hope. . .

I might keep the sock basket after all to remind myself ala Churchillian optimism that the day you give up on hope is a sad day.


Author: Susan

This post has 9 Comments

  1. cherry on August 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Ah, Bob the Husband's comment is by far the best. It explains why the mates show up when the singles are tossed. We are all philosophers, this is why you got so many comments on a very commonplace post.

  2. Lisa c on August 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Loved bob's best! My answer to my husband is … How long have lived here?

  3. Lawrence Block on August 6, 2011 at 12:22 am

    I've found an answer every bit as radical as Alexander's drawing a sword and slicing through the Gordian knot. I'm almost afraid to share it, but we're all friends here, right?

    Okay, here it is: Wear unmatched socks.

    Two things can happen. People won't notice, which is fine. Or they will, which is better.

  4. Susan Meissner on August 6, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Cherry, I do believe you are right every one of us a philosopher and that it takes a mundane item like a sock to give us the courage to talk like one. Yes, Lisa, Bob's a keeper. And I have to say 80% of the socks are his, so philosophize that if you will.
    And Lawrence, welcome to the Edge. I don't think I can do what you suggest. What if I get into a car accident and there I am in the ER with one blue sock and one pink one?

  5. MJ @ Creative Madness Mama on August 6, 2011 at 4:12 am

    I love this post and ending with your husband's comment is perfect. LOL

  6. Clair on August 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I actually find one of my missing socks from time to time so I don't usually toss them.

  7. MommaMindy on August 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    For years I had a Sock Basket. Weekly I mated single sox in kids' drawers and matching them with sox from the Sock Basket. I even tried pinning mates together in the wash to avoid this task.

    When I realized my kids weren't sorting their sox, just throwing them in there straight out of the dryer, I liberated myself. I started putting their sox in their laundry baskets WITHOUT MATES. They started wearing mismatched sox.

    Now, they sell them that way. I secretly take credit for the trend…

  8. Anonymous on August 6, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Fascinating discussion. I'm shaking my head as I I wonder if anyone aside from you, Sooz, could generate such philosophizing on a sock basket. I love Bob's comment! And, too, your extension to hope of one day all that is lost will be found.

    Blessings to you, you incredible writer!

    Mary Kay

  9. Susan Meissner on August 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for your comments, MJ, Clair, Mindy and Mary Kay!

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