Monday, December 04, 2006

My sock drawer

I had an exciting weekend. I now have eight orphan socks, each without its corresponding twin. I can't bear to throw them away, so I have created a special place for them in my sock drawer, just in case their twins show up. I don't know what happens to socks while they are away. Perhaps they are temporarily in a parallel universe somewhere, where they perplex someone just like me about the whereabouts of their mates. I would really like to know if left socks and right socks are equally represented on the AWOL list, or whether just one or the other is always the one to disappear. Of course, there is no way of knowing that, so that puzzles me as well.

Then there are those little plastic containers that you store food in... do you know the ones I mean? We have gazillions of them in our home, but I can never find a top to match the bottom I pick to put in a sandwich or some leftover perogies. It is all very frustrating. If I didn't have weightier things to think about, these things just might keep me awake at night.

They don't of course, because nothing keeps me awake at night. If I were to stay awake though, I would be pondering some other issues of great importance. Like what? I'll tell you.

My wife and son and I were wandering around in Wal-Mart over the weekend. I saw a commotion out of the corner of my eye and looked in its direction, then watched with interest at what was going on. What was it? It was a woman berating her husband, enough so that it caught my attention, and doubtless that of other shoppers as well.

This sort of thing is nothing unusual, of course, I see it happen all the time. Actually, I don't recall ever seeing a male embarrassing his wife or girlfriend in public, but odds are it must happen, and I'm just not around to see it. I have , however, seen many instances of females embarrassing their husbands or boyfriends in public.

Why one and not the other? Is it that males are so useless, so incompetent, so stupid, so inconsiderate, that we simply can't function without women telling us where to go, what to do, when to speak, what to say, what not to say and when to sleep on the couch? Or is it that males, in these circumstances at least, have more sense and know when to shut up?

To be fair, the woman in Wal-Mart couldn't really shut up, because she was verbally abusing her husband in sign language. Naturally, except for some universal gestures that serve those who hear and those who don't equally well, I had no idea what she was saying. Her husband just stood there, sheepishly, and let her vent. Most men do that, under those circumstances.

Why is that?

I am willing to play by certain rules in a relationship, like: Be nice to me and I'll be nice to you; This irritates the hell out of me, so please don't do it; This pleases me, so do it at every convenient opportunity. Those sorts of things. No-one should ever, though, be subject to public abuse. Have a bone to pick? Do it at home, out of sight and earshot of everyone else, even (or especially) the kids.

I remember, years ago in a supermarket, seeing a very successful acquaintance of mine walking several steps behind his wife as she repeatedly turned and hurled invectives at him. He said nothing, and I quickly ducked down an aisle so as not to embarrass him. Several years later, I saw him with another woman. She was his new wife. She wasn't yelling at him. He was smiling.

Can it be that errant socks, plastic container tops, and good old common sense all go to the same place somewhere? There must be some explanation for it all, because common courtesy and consideration are becoming just as difficult to find as my missing socks.

It's a shame.


  1. Wow.. that was a great post.

    On a side note.. this is what I do about socks and containers.. when you are finished with your socks for the day and they hit the laundry hamper.. roll them up first, together.. that way when it's time for washing, you can unroll them and put them in the washer together.. most assuredly, they will find themselves in the dryer and back into your sock drawer as mates.

    Containers.. I have a device that holds all the bottoms and all the lids.. it was 15 dollars and all the containers are different sizes, but all the lids are the same - throw out the aggravating collection you have and start fresh. Mine spins, also and fits nicely in the cupboard above my stove.

    I think, essentially, men equate 'hysteria' with women and thus, would never want to publicly display this feminine quality - it would embarrass them - men are supposed to be strong and stoic. Also, everyone knows that public displays of anger aren't really acceptable, but a man can hold his annoyance until he's home, where he can disappear into the garage or in front of the television, or roar like the king of the castle, with full right. Women know they shouldn't react so badly in public, but women are more emotional and once they've perceived a slight or let something fester, their dignity often goes out the window - only, it's only 'dignity' to those watching, a woman acting in this way feels that she is within her full rights - because women do not limit their domain to the home.

    There is never any need to yell, nor is there any real need to become angry. Words work wonderfully and when they don't, it's time to look at the situation for what it really is. But, men and women who have let things build up or who focus on what they want, rather than how things are, are always looking through a dirty windshield, until there's a crash. Bitter brokenness results. Walmart isn't the place for such arguments, but with time frames and schedules and kids and dinner and the only time spent uninterrupted is together at the Walmart, then it becomes an extension of home, it has to.

    People don't make time to love, to live, to enjoy, to create together.. and equally important, they don't take time to sit and talk about things that bother them - when things are good, who wants to.. and without that time, when things are bad.. they usually culminate into those last short straws.. inside a Walmart, somewhere.

  2. Very practical suggestions, Penny. And valuable insights too, into the human condition. I do understand the very real differences between men and women, and try to make allowances, at least to a point. However, there is a point beyond which no-one should ever go, and public humiliation of a partner is one of those. I wrote a post called 'Ditch the Bitch' after seeing something similar in California last year, and that is basically the way I feel. That sort of behaviour is a definite deal-breaker.

  3. Yes.. like you, because I understand it, doesn't mean that I agree with it either. Humiliation in public or otherwise is always bad and should be the territory of no one.

    I have had disagreements with my spouse, while out shopping and if anyone was looking, they may have been able to tell from our body language or facial expressions or perhaps the tone of voice, if they'd been close enough, but when we took 'home' outside, we kept it in a little bubble. A quiet one.

  4. One of my dearest friends says that his definition of Hell is dying and being handed a basket full of unsorted socks to match. While someone shows him their homemade videos of Yosemite National Park.

    I think you both have something there, with unsorted socks (and yelling wives). Each of which should be banished forever!

  5. I have yet to go to Yosemite, Bellezza, but I guess I had better make sure that when I do I take lots of videos, in case I ever need them to get rid of house guests who have overstayed their welcome.