Monday, February 23, 2009

Tale of a Sock

I tend to find myself thinking of odd things during meetings. Like the CFO’s sock drawer. I wonder if he has a lot of really old socks. Faded black socks that now look grey. Socks his mom got him for Christmases. Socks that itch, so he never wears them. His favorite socks, which his wife begs him to throw out. Maybe, like my father, his sock drawer is filled to the brim with socks. His wife even thinks of secretly throwing some out, but she knows he’ll probably notice, so she doesn’t.

I imagine him, like my father, getting up in the wee, dark hours of the morning to get dressed, his wife still asleep. He pulls out a trusty night light – it’s an old, battery powered light that’s supposed to be hung on a wall of an electricity-deprived closet. It’s from the 80s, and has a pull-chain rather than a switch. It’s the size of a salad plate and runs on a nine-volt, and he palms in his left hand while the right rifles through the socks.

He uses this light because his wife spent 22 years raising their children, and to let her sleep past 6:00 a.m. was his way of thanking her. But he’s up at 6:00 or earlier every day, putting together his clothes for work – sometimes it’s a misadventure, and she laughs when he gets home to discover he’s got on brown socks with a black suit and a black shoes.

But she doesn’t gloat too much, because she knows his morning ritual with the pull-chain light and sock-hunting. She knows because she sometimes wakes up and watches him, smiling, knowing that this started when both children began simultaneously sleeping through the night. Now, more than thirty years later, he can’t stop, because it’s become habit. And because, even after 30 years, every home-cooked meal, every middle-of-the-night feeding, and every load of laundry she did deserves that extra hour or two of rest for her.

All this from the CFO's sock choice today (green argyle, if you wanted to know...)

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