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Set, collection of colorful socks icons with different ornaments isolated on white background.

Filed Under , on February 23rd, 2019

Waiting for Sock

By Seth Kabala

Think about stuff you need to get you through your day. Does coffee come to mind? Of course it does. For millions of Americans and billions of people around the world, coffee, in its various forms, is a daily ritual. Not just a daily ritual–an hourly fix, as in you need to grab more black sludge with the same frequency as smokers need to puff more tar into their lungs. I hope, as time goes on, that the ingestion of road sealant and funeral home chemicals continues to decrease, and evidence supports that. Can’t say the same for coffee. Its consumption increases at an astounding rate.

But are we really after the coffee, or are we after the caffeine? Depends on whom you ask. I started out drinking coffee in college so I could work into the wee hours and not have a 70lb floor swing machine topple back onto me and send me tumbling down multiple flights of concrete stairs in the stairwells of office buildings. Also so I could stay awake while driving back and forth to classes. Also so I could learn a thing or two in those classes. Also so I could remember where I lived at the end of the day and not get shot dead after trying to enter the wrong apartment or house. Didn’t think caffeine was important before? It might just save you from perpetrating a home invasion and being the victim of vigilant homeowner execution. (Yay Guns & Ammo!)

I’ve transitioned in recent years to enjoying coffee, coffee houses, brewing methods, single-origin beans, and flavor profiles because they are awesome and not because a swing machine is out to get me. Perhaps the addiction quotient is lower, but is the need?

What about other stuff that gets you through the day? Like socks. Imagine your life without socks. For some people, this is easy. Take my wife, Amy, for example. If she could, she would never wear socks ever again. She grew up in California, living there until she was 12. Her dad was a civilian working for the U.S. military, so during the California years, she took a break from the mainland and lived in Hawaii for a time. (Are you jealous, too? Yeah, I’ve been married to her for almost 16 years. Still haven’t gotten over it.)

The Californian and Hawaiian climates were conducive to going sockless. The Illinois and Oregon climates, not so much. Begrudgingly, Amy has accepted that she must sometimes wear socks to 1) avoid frostbite (Illinois imperative) and 2) avoid feeling like her bones are twisting and grinding themselves into powder inside her body when the seemingly never-ending October-March rainy season is in full force (Oregon imperative).

Do you remember those teachers in school (elementary, middle, high school, post-grad, or whatever) who had the uncanny ability to slow or stop time? Seriously. They could take a 50-minute lecture and make you feel like you’d aged 100 years, like you were the witch from Tangled who, upon Rapunzel’s hair being cut, falls out the tower, hits the ground, and sends up a cloud of dust, the only thing left of her after, sans magic, the accelerated aging process took hold.

I love Oregon. The topography is breathtaking. The food is great. The people are awesome, but the winter-is-coming-oh-wait-maybe-not weather sucks. How can it feel colder at 40 degrees here than it does at -40 in the Midwest? Doubtless some combination of the Ben Stein-esque teacher and the Tangled witch working together in an evil plot to put pains into your bones. Waging war on an osteocyte level. That’s devious.

Then you’ve got my son, Will. He has daily needs of a different shade. He’s 13, so if you’ll turn up the reception on your imagination to the lowest level, you can imagine what kind of needs he has. We’ve had the Introduction to Plumbing talk, so no worries there. Does history repeat itself? Do bathroom doors remain closed for extended periods of time? Affirmative.

Shifting the conversation outside the bathroom, Will has other needs. Strange needs, at least upon hearing them out of context. This past week, we were encouraging him to get to bed. Will said, “I can’t go to bed now. I have to wait for my sock.” I heard this and immediately saw images of soiled and clean socks dancing the can-can along with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Some of the socks elected to transfer to the Green Bay Packers. A wise choice. All those who stayed with the Cowboys were lost in the dryer and never heard from again, while the Packer transferees thrived and supported the soles and insteps of their team’s players to NFL glory, as it should be. I swear, this whole scene went through my mind in a split-second. Then I found out what Will was talking about.

His sisters have these woven tubes made of handsome material and filled with rice. One of their aunts constructed these and gave them to the girls as gifts. Will complained to Amy about not having his own, so she filled a sock with rice and tied twine around the end. We take great pains to provide equity in our household. The girls each have a cool-looking tube, and Will’s makes him look like a hobo hauling around a small knapsack. Go parenting!

The tubes are designed to provide extended warmth to their wearers. How does this happen? You put the whole tube in the microwave for two minutes with a cup of water, otherwise it will explode (note to self: future column). The rice retains the heat, while the woven sheath of the tube protects the wearer’s skin from getting burned. The style of material comprising the outer sheath, along with the rice filling, makes it look similar to a tube sock–or in Will’s case, exactly–thus, his reference to a sock. He was literally waiting for his “sock.” (I wonder if Waiting for Sock would land with mockumentary audiences with the same panache as Waiting for Guffman?)

Daily needs are diverse. Maybe they involve smooching bituminous crack sealant, the rolled paper variety. Maybe they involve caffeine-fueled evasive maneuvers from runaway floor waxing equipment. Or maybe they involve plain old socks. We do what we do and we need what we need.

I think the world needs Waiting for Sock.

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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