When I woke up this morning I wasn’t really all there. You know – the pall of sleep shrouded over me like a – yada yada yada. This probably explains why the first thought that came to my foggy mind was about socks.

I’ve been thinking about socks a lot lately, and have come to the conclusion that – metaphorically at least – socks are like relationships.

Think about it. When you first take them out of the package they are so new and fresh. The material is soft and strong, just as ‘god’ intended – it’s smooth, supple, elastic, eminently forgiving, and so comfortable. They just fit.

New friendships are like this.

Then after a few wears, a few washes, you notice clinging white laundry particles – imperfections that weren’t there before – and maybe a few stretched bits around the toes where your nails dig in. Also, up near the top, the part that you grasp to pull them up starts to sag and stretch and slip away on you at critical times. You stick with them, though – you hold on. They’re still valuable. They still love you, so you still love them.

Before you know it they’re quite worn. They’re not your favourite socks anymore, but something you wear to paint with or to walk in mucky woods. They’re reliable, dependable. They look after you.

This is real love.

And then, as if before your very eyes, the stretches and digs turn in to big, gaping holes and you’re faced with a decision: the shine is gone – the gleam is off. Do you hold on? You’re loyal – no, fiercely loyal – because of everything you’ve been through – and though they are tattered and worn, and make you feel poor and unkempt, you vow to wear them still – every once in a while. For old times’ sake. You think about other socks, how smooth and strong they are, but you’re not ready for that – if you ever will be. Your heart stays with your old friends.

Then suddenly the choice is no longer yours. The end comes when, with one final, unthinking, over-exuberant pull, you inadvertently yank the life right out of them, and the relationship ends at last.

You have a silent bathroom ceremony as you throw them in the trash. You look at them there and you think about the places you’ve been together, and the things you’ve done. But while your heart lies there with them you know that the world keeps turning, and you have to find replacements. You have to move on, or go sockless.

Yes, socks have a very special place in our lives.

If we only stop to think about it.


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