Over the months and years I began to notice the gradual decline of black socks. I would often notice that my sock drawer was filled with a dozen pair of nice black socks and as the months went by my collection of black socks dwindled. At a certain point during the year I would notice that I would only have one or two pairs of black socks left and then one day I would wonder silently to myself, where the hell do all the black socks go?
This recurring episode happened at least twenty times in my adult life. Ever since I started buying my own socks at the age of thirty-one, I noticed that there would be a gradual decline in the amount of black socks I owned. But I was young and self deprecating so I just assumed that the loss of black socks was my fault. I smoked a good amount of marijuana then, so I thought that I had misplaced my black socks when stoned. I also did my laundry at a laundry mat so it was more than possible that I was accidentally leaving my black socks behind in the dryer.
But as I began making more money, moved into an apartment with its own washer and dryer set and quit smoking marijuana I noticed that there was still this gradual decline in my black sock collection. But still I did not make much of it. I was thirty-four and preoccupied with that one lingering question that plagues most young men- what was I going to be when I grew up? As a result I had little time to worry about disappearing black socks. I would just go to Target, buy a $7.99 four pack of black dress socks and then get on with my life.
As my life became more domesticated and I found myself a married man, I started becoming more perplexed about where the hell all the black socks went. I was not yet at the stage where I was desperately searching for an answer but I was living with this question circulating around in my head. Since I was married and not making much money I was living on a budget. The budget was as tight as my pants had become. There was not enough money left over at the end of the month to go buy more black socks as I had done in the past. Now I had to learn to live with fewer pairs of black socks.
Every time I would sit down and put on my black socks I would wonder about them. Where the hell do you guys go? The mystery became too uncomfortable to carry around in my mind. I had to begin an official investigation. On the day I turned 40 I was getting dressed for my birthday dinner. I went to my sock drawer and noticed that there was only one black sock left. I had known for certain that only a few weeks ago I still had several pairs of black socks left. Now there was just one black sock. What the hell?
Dressed nicely for my birthday dinner I found myself inside of my dryer. A strange place to find oneself at 6:14 pm on their birthday, but I was driven by a irascible desire to solve the mystery. Enough was enough. First I looked inside of the washing machine. Nothing. Then I proceeded to climb into the dryer in search of some kind of explanation for the disappearance of all but one of my black socks. I was determined. As I moved around in the dryer looking for some clue, I accidentally turned the dryer carousel and ended up spinning upside down. I held myself in a manageable position by pressing both hands against the side of the dryer but my head was pressing into the metallic bumps of the carousel. I was in some pain and experienced some acid reflux. I did not know how to get out of this inverted position so I ended up kicking the top of the dryer in an attempt to turn myself right side up. But when I kicked the top of the dryer something broke. For a moment I became afraid that I would fall through some kind of dryer version of the rabbit hole and land in a massive pile of black socks. I envisioned my karma being that of a man forever trapped in a sea of all the worlds lost black socks. I panicked.
Fortunately my wife was able to hear loud thumping sounds coming from the laundry room and was smart enough to check out what was going on. When she found me inverted and stuck in the dryer she immediately began to laugh. What the hell are you doing? she asked me with an amused smile on her face. With her help I managed to stretch one leg over my stomach and head and onto the laundry room floor, turn my body right side up and climb out from the dryer. I did a kind of yoga like stretch that has left me with back pain until this day. I was trying to find out where the hell all my black socks went, I said once I had both feet on the ground, was standing straight and could breathe a sigh of relief.
At my 40th birthday dinner that evening I was wearing my one black sock and a borrowed gray sock from my wife. The sock was so small that I could feel it quietly ripping every time I moved my toes. It was obvious that I was preoccupied with something. People were asking me if anything was wrong. I then asked some of my male friends if they had the same problem with their black socks. I was surprised to find that they all had experienced the phenomena of disappearing black socks. Even the women at the table had noticed the same thing happening in their sock collection. We all tried to figure out where the hell the black socks go. There were so many possible explanations. They get left behind in the dryer, drop on the floor and get lost when we carry our laundry, etc. The only explanation that made any possible sense was that when we wash our clothes the black socks stick to the insides of our clothes and then when we wear those clothes out into the world the black socks fall out all over the place. But still I was not satisfied with this explanation. I mean if they fell out all over the place why would we not see them everywhere?
I became preoccupied with trying to figure out where all the black socks went. I did a lot of research on Google, but found no answers other than some Russian sock collector who offered a mystical explanation for disappearing black socks. I stopped purchasing black socks because I could no longer afford to lose them. My sock drawer became filled with red, brown and blue socks and over the months I noticed that none of them disappeared.
Then just yesterday I was on a walk. I often walk with my head down to avoid eye contact with passers-by. I also like to look at the ground moving under my feet. As I was walking I came upon a single black sock lying on the dirty sidewalk. I did not think much of it until a few minutes later when I happened upon another single black sock lying on the sidewalk. I was perplexed but I wrongly assumed that these black socks belonged to homeless people.
I continued to walk on and began noticing black sock after black sock after black sock lying on the sidewalk. What was going on? I lifted my head up and said out loud, what the hell? Where had all these black socks come from? I had walked this route at least three times a week and never noticed all these blacks socks before. Suddenly there were black socks EVERYWHERE. All over the sidewalks and in the streets. I stopped walking and looked around. Cars were driving over the black socks and people walked past them as if they were not there. No one except myself seemed to notice all the discarded black socks all over the place. I let out a little giggle because finally I was seeing something that no one else saw. And then like all smart and logical married men on a budget, I proceeded to put aside my pride, bend over and start picking up and putting as many black socks as I could fit into my pockets.