Sunday, November 28, 2010

Inscrutable motives

Today, it poured rain. So with gardening off the daily menu, I said to myself, “Hey! This would be a good opportunity to clean out the closet!”

I saw dust bunnies in there the size of deer while I was tracking down Moth-Ra a while back, which led to the realization that it had been about forever plus three days since the last time I’d cleared things out, shaken, stirred, and put them back.


We own a lot of stuff.

A lot of stuff.

It took forever to haul everything out of there. I mean, forever-forever. And an awful lot of it hasn’t been put back yet – all the stuff that needs to be sorted through and figured out, all the crap that just sort of got shoved into there over the years pending somebody having time to figure out where it should go.

I always pick the best jobs for myself, don’t I?

As I went along, things began to get purged. The shirt that constantly tries to expose my boobs to a world that really would rather not see them, the pants that try to expose my other assets that, you know, ditto on the ‘really rather not’ thing. Pants that haven’t fit for five years. Shirts with frayed cuffs.

I filled up two and a half big old garbage bags with stuff to donate, and another one that was just trash.

And then I came to the sock drawer, and things ground to a sudden, inexplicable halt.

I had three (3) drawers that were full of (mostly) socks. Socks I haven’t worn in years, because they don’t fit right, or because I hate the way they feel, or because…well, because they have holes in them.

No. I…really can’t explain that.

I mean, I know the holes are there. It’s not like, “Oh look, these socks have mysteriously developed holes since I put them in here!”

I take them off the day the hole develops, and I say to myself, “Oh. Wow. These have a hole in them.”

And then I put them in the wash instead of the trash. I don’t know why. The whole cycle could be broken, if I’d just toss them into the trash instead of the laundry hamper.

But I almost never do. The wrist flicks, and they go sailing into the laundry.

And then on laundry day, I see them as I’m sorting and I say, “Huh, those have holes in them...” – but I don’t take them out of circulation and toss them then, either. Oh no. I go ahead and wash them.

Then I match them back together, saying to myself as I do, “Oh. There’s those socks that have a hole in them.”

Then I put them away. I put them away. In the drawer, as if there’s nothing different about them.

Like I’m afraid to hurt their feelings or something.

I never wear them again, because I look at them in the drawer and go, “Oh yeah. Those are the ones that have holes in them.”

But I do not ever throw them away.

Until I come to a day like today, when I take them out and go, “Oh. Yeah. These had a hole or something, didn’t they?”

And then there begins this farce where I poke at the hole, trying to decide if it’s a big hole, or a little hole, and maybe I could darn it, or maybe nobody would notice, and is it in an area where I’d get a blister if I just wore them anyway, and…

With the hand-knit socks, I can understand myself; there’s a lot of time invested in them, and furthermore with the hand-knit socks, there is a chance I could, theoretically, fix the problem.

But that’s not usually the case. These are mostly store-bought, machine-knit-by-the-bazillions, cheap socks. If they have a hole? There’s no darning it. There’s no fixing it. There’s no saving these things. They’re going to disintegrate if I try to wear them, after that first worn-through area appears.

I know this. I’ve gone through a lot of socks in my time. I understand the life-cycle of them.

But for some bizarre reason…well, it just takes a little more effort to actually say goodbye and let them go.

I guess for some things, my motivations are a little more inscrutable than for others.

And apparently, socks are pretty darned inscrutable.

Motivationally speaking.


Jenn C. said...

Ha! I do the same thing with my socks, until my drawer can't close, and I go through a purge getting rid of all the ones that I don't like or have holes. I wonder what it is about our habits that make us so likely to keep things we KNOW we'll never use.

And it messes me up too, thinking I still have socks or underwear left before I have to do laundry, and then realizing all I have are the completely undesirable ones.

RobinH said...

I must admit that I have darned those sorts of socks. They weren't *good* darns, as I used much thicker cotton yarn than the socks were made from, but they patched the holes and I managed to avoid going to the store for two more years. I only started pitching them when I started making handknit socks, because knitting myself new handknit socks is *way* more fun than doing ugly-ass darns in the commercial ones!

Rena said...


I have lots of single socks, socks that I just KNOW will the mate will appear the moment I throw the single sock away. So I hold on to it... for years

Science PhD Mom said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. And for some reason I do the same thing with white shirts. The ones that don't fit right, the ones that gape over the breastfeeding boobs, the ones that are just tired and gray...can't throw them out or give them away. I have almost a whole drawer that is being overrun with "will not wear" white shirts. Mayhap it is a phobia..."But it's so USEFUL, somehow!"