brianI have a thing about socks.

In my house, laundry rolls at a constant, slow boil, the wet and dry machines churning and chugging with such volume frequency that I’ve taken to using closed-captioning on the TV set, which is a totally normal thing for anyone to do, not just old people.

The laundry makes its way from the hampers and floors, through the machines and to a staging area in front of the TV, where it gets folded and sorted with efficiency — almost every time by my wife, about whom I am definitely not complaining.

As the individual piles grow, socks are tossed onto a recliner for later sorting, which sometimes happens but more often does not, and so the socks frequently make their way back to the laundry station to be tossed, loose, into what I have named the “socks box.”

Occasionally I dump out the socks box and spend a couple hours sorting the socks into their various colors and sizes, weeding out the ones with holes, or that have been outgrown, the ones whose elasticity has finally given way.

It’s awful work. Grueling and brutal, even in front of the TV — discerning black from navy from charcoal grey; comparing thickness and texture and pattern and length. Completely thankless, too, because no one cares but me. And even though I do not like doing it, it bothers me way more than it should when someone else does it, and then I pull a pair of mismatched socks out of the socks box while I’m trying to get ready for work.

Did you know that every time someone wears a pair of mismatched socks, it creates two loose socks? Well, it does. And loose socks, in my house, seem to multiply at a rate that far exceeds the norm.

It’s unusual for me, this sock thing. I am not a perfectionist. I know that absolutely no one gives a good crap about my socks, and that no one can even see them. And after I pull them on in the morning and put on my shoes, I absolutely forget all about them — I have no idea which pair of socks I am wearing right now, for instance.

But I know they match. And it makes me feel better than it should.

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