Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Where do all the socks hangout?

I was really confident I was going to take out as many pairs of socks as I put into the dryer this time around. I just had a good feeling that this was going to be the time it happened. The same number of socks in - the same number of socks out. There would be two loads this time. Thanks to a chart my mom devised for me during my freshman year in college, I don't mix the whites and darks, so when a load was washed and ready for the dryer, the white socks were going to dry with the whites they were washed with and the dark socks were drying with their dark clothes counterparts. I recognize I could have separated all of the socks so they'd dry on their own, but where's the fun and challenge in that? Plus, if they all came out together in their own load, it would be a tainted record with an asterisk. I'd be the Roger Maris of drying. Sure the record would have been set, but at what cost? What about the children?

I can understand why Jerry Seinfeld thinks socks use their time in the dryer to escape. Socks don't really have a great life. They surround smelly feet all day and are sacrificed so our feet don't touch the inside of our shoes or walk on the floor of our homes. Worse yet, socks are used for cleaning many surfaces and have been used for waxing cars. I don't blame socks for trying to get away in the dryer duct, but I do regularly clean mine and only use them as a barrier from my shoes. Their cotton makeup could have easily been used for someone's delicates - a much worse predicament than being in a pair of shoes.

The first load was my whites. After completing a perfect transition directly from the washer to the dryer and adding a sheet of Bounce, everything was ready to go. Nervously I set the dial and away they went. Rumbling, bumbling, stumbling around while a blast of hot air permeated them to their ultimate destination - complete dryness nirvana.

Meanwhile, back at the washer (that sits below the dryer), I began my dark load. Now here's the kicker, I never made sure I actually put an equal number of socks in this load, but assumed I always wore two pairs of socks that matched during the week, of course, stranger things have happened. Anyway, 40 minutes later the dryer was done with the whites. They smelled April fresh (or at least that's what the label says April freshness smells like), and they were totally dry.

Without hesitation, I removed the clothes from the dryer and placed them in the laundry basket for the important 15 foot walk to my room. This is a crucial part of the process as hanging socks (or chads) may fall by the wayside, never to be claimed and found again. After setting the basket down on the floor, I deftly placed the newly-cleaned darks right into the dryer with the same skill I had previously shown with the whites. Before they could run away, I smoothly moved them to the dryer. I then began the delicate process of checking out the white socks.

One pair matches, two pairs match, three pairs match...on and on it went like that until finally the last pair of white socks matched and were placed in the sock drawer. I had no expectation that my socks would work so well. Of course, this got me thinking, what if, by some miracle, the dark socks would match as well? Would anyone believe me? It would be the first time in history. Would I be famous? Would I get my own reality show on the yet-to-be-created all-clothing channel? Or what about the laundry channel?

45 minutes later, the dark clothes were dry and also had that great April fresh scent we've all been told to love. After meticulously placing the clothes into the basket and walking back to my room under extremely tight security, it was time for the second-half of the dream wash.

The first 4 pairs of dark socks matched and I started to get nervously excited. Would the last three complete the dream wash cycle or end like every other load every washed in the history of the world - with the one sock that got away to freedom. And then it happened, the three socks each missed their replica partner. One brown sock, one navy blue sock, and one black sock. In a desperate attempt, I decided to look around at the miscellaneous socks that make their way to the living room and some crevaces in the apartment. I found what would be a matching black sock on the floor over the stair banister, which means it fell during transport of another wash a week or so ago. I found a brown sock that did not make it into the original wash underneath my desk (thereby eliminating any pure record that I would set if the last sock matched up).

After looking around my room and the apartment for what must have been about 4 minutes, I gave up on the navy blue sock and took my loss just like we all have. It was another sock gone and another pair that'll be bought this weekend to replace it. So while the socks didn't match this time, I sure came close and won't give up until all the socks that enter the dryer, come out together. I think it's a conspiracy by the lobbying group the Sockmakers of America have with dryer manufacturers to allow one sock to escape each load so more and more socks must be bought.


tubmon said...

Ever think about safety pins? You might not always know where the socks are hanging out, but at least you'll draw some comfort knowing they aren't lonely.

B and T Crowd said...

According to the rules of laundry, using safety pins would violate any historical mark set by matching socks.

Mike said...

Don't be afraid of the Sock Monster - the solution has arrived @ www.socklocker.com