Some pairs of things I like more than others. Pairs of pants, for example, are fine. Other pairs…like gloves and socks…not so much. I have a terrible track record with pairs that can become separated…and ultimately…one or both end up lost.
Socks, of course, are well known for hiding during laundry day. Sometimes I’ll find a crafty sock…weeks or even months later…in the sleeve of a previously laundered shirt. That I can understand…static electricity in the dryer. What is almost unfathomable, however, is how they disappear in the dryer…even after a valiant search of hiding places. I’m convinced dryers simply occasionally eat socks…much like a puppy…without a single remnant to evidence its existence.
It used to be that men’s socks were mostly all the same…oh, you might have subtle variations…black, blue, brown…but pretty basic. So, an occasional lost sock was no big deal.
Today, however, socks have become fashion statements and I have collected an assortment of loudly patterned and coloured socks. Now, when I lose a sock…it somehow seems more sad.
Gloves pose a real challenge for me. I have lost more gloves…usually one at a time…than most human beings. I don’t know exactly know why that is. Obviously I’m not a careful as I think I am. I stuff the things in pockets and usually one falls out in a store or parking lot. There’s a reason children have mittens tethered together…very effective. There is no adult version…and quite frankly, vanity might prevent me from buying a pair.
I lost a single glove of a freshly bought pair last week…on the first day I wore them. Fortunately, as I walked in a parking lot I realized I was missing a glove. I returned to the Save-On-Foods store I had just left…and there it was…lying on the service counter. Some good soul had already turned it in as lost. Forever the optimist, a lost glove is one of the few times I turn pessimistic. Almost everyone turns in a lost glove…but somehow I believe that one-arm guy from the movie, “The Fugitive” is following me…waiting for me to drop a glove.
My wife, Bonnie, is already used to me losing pairs of things that can be separated. I think she…like most women…are amazed that we men make it through the day without them following behind us. She hasn’t said anything yet…but I someday expect her to compliment me on not losing a pair of pants when I’m out and about.
Perhaps because I am afflicted with this malady - let’s call it “Pairs Dissociative Disorder” - I’m extremely sensitive and sympathetic to this issue in others. I am ever on the watch for a lost glove when I’m traversing a parking lot or shopping in a store. Somewhat oddly, I have on occasion, found a single sock. This, I must admit leaves me befuddled. How do you lose a single sock in public? Turning in a single sock at a customer service desk will get you - at best - a quizzical look. I don’t even try to explain.
Once I found an expensive ladies high-heel shoe in a mall parking lot. Apparently, she left in a big hurry…or was really preoccupied…or possibly both. For the life of me, I can’t imagine throwing a shoe and not realizing it. And even though I felt really odd picking up the ladies high heel and turning it in to the nearest store…I did. Somehow it just seemed inappropriate…I’m guessing…based on the scowl on the face of woman behind the counter when I handed it to her.
“Obviously,” Bonnie later explained, “the woman changed shoes to drive and somehow one high-heel fell out.” You rarely see men changing shoes in a parking lot…but my wife’s logic was - as usual - iron clad.
My slightly warped sense of humour sometimes kicks in…and I’ve been tempted to leave even more odd - completely inexplicable - items in a parking lot. Then, I could quietly sneak to the sidewalk and observe. You know, something like a belted pair of pants, socks, shoes and a shirt…carefully placed as if someone melted. I have not - as yet - acted on this impulse.
We’re back in Vernon for Christmas with the kids and grandkids, and fly back to Florida on January 5. That means I have just 11 days left to guard my new gloves and my socks…old and new. I will launder my socks separately…I will put my gloves in my deepest coat pocket. Still, I believe Bonnie is giving odds to the rest of the family on whether I will escape with both gloves and a full complement of socks. Honestly, based on history, it is a more sure thing than most bets.
– Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.
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