I Married A Sock Addict

My mother says she’s color blind from a lifetime of matching socks.  As I celebrate my 24th year of doing Scott Rinehart’s laundry, I now know why.

According to my husband’s sock drawer, there are 17 shades of navy blue.  Four of those shades belong on over the calf socks while the other thirteen are on varying heights from under the knee to midcalf.  Factor in toe seam variations and I can spend two hours with socks spread out on the driveway in the midday sun to find matches.

My husband owns socks with 99% identical colors and patterns but contain one single microscopic variation from the next pair on an argyle diamond. Some have ribs and patterns woven into the fabric for a textured feel while others appear smooth to the touch. He’ll break out in hives if they’re mismatched.

The man knows better than to comment on my collection of shoes and dusty handbags. Just let him try and tell me the six black and ten white T-shirts hanging in my closet are all the same color.  I’ll make him open his sock drawers.

The man has not one, but two sock drawers.  The first houses all the white socks.  Low cut, ankle length and the throw back to his college football trainer days: tube socks.

His designated dress sock drawer is divided into two sections—one for the tan, brown and black family and the other for the dark blue, black and green family.  The two are never allowed to intermingle.  There’s even a wood divider between the two sections.  I’m afraid some time in the dark of night his socks will rise up in revolt against the strict order he’s forced upon them all these years and attack us.

My husband still has socks he owned when he got his first car—an ’84 Camaro.  About every three years I’ll find a thread bare pair in the trashcan. I run out and buy vodka in preparation of what will surely be a rough couple of weeks around here after the demise of a beloved family member.

Only two pair in his entire collection fall into the Wear Once A Year Theme Sock category: The black nylon ribbed knee hi’s purchased with the Once A Year Tuxedo and the black over the calves emblazoned with dancing skeletons—a gift from his favorite mother-in-law.

Last time she was in town, mom watched me haul my overflowing paper bag of Socks Without Partners to my car for the monthly 12-step meeting.  “Why don’t you train your husband to pin his socks together before he puts them in the hamper? Then you wouldn’t have all those Socks Without Partners.  I converted your father to that system when he was well into his 40’s and I swear it’s the reason I still have my eyesight and still married.”

“Mom, if I did that, I wouldn’t have an excuse to get out of the house on a weeknight.  Besides, tonight’s hostess is a pastry chef.”

“Really?”  She reached under my couch cushion and pulled out a single white sock.  “I’m coming with you.”

Copyright 2011 Karen Rinehart

Karen Rinehart's columns appear Sundays in the Independent Tribune. Her website is KarenJRinehart.com.