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Gill went to London on the weekend to go to the theatre with friends and visit her old chums. Her social life still seems to be centered in London, even though she lives in Bristol. She has made some good friends in the new place, but most Saturday evenings are spent curled up in bed watching television with her stuffed owl from childhood. It is often more likely that I (the rickety old lady) will be out, either with The Man In My Life or friends. But that night our roles were reversed. I spent ‘date night’ sorting my socks! I know…stop the presses…does it get more exciting than that?!

If you’d seen the state of my sock drawer, you’d realize that, not only was I in danger of losing a bodily appendage in the drawer, but you’d admire my bravery and stick-to-it-iveness in tackling such a monumental task without reinforcements.

Call it a case of premature spring cleaning, an organizational frenzy, a bid to rid my life and house (possibly my brain?)  of accumulated clutter, whatever you will. (Actually, I must confess that I tried to watch the new Steve Jobs movie on pay-per-view, but once again, my cable company thwarted me. The movie kept pixilating in such an annoying manner that I couldn’t watch it. After trying for half-an-hour, I finally realized I couldn’t do it without driving myself into a fury. Better to cut my losses, sort socks, and look forward to yet another scintillating phone call with my cable PROVIDER –a misnomer if there ever was one– the next day.)

I had a satisfying evening, sorting and matching single socks that have, over time, found themselves devoid of their partners. I always thought it was smart, efficient, and cost-effective to buy only black or white socks. But as I gazed, stupefied by the array of black socks in particular, I thought that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. At least if the socks all were different colors or patterns, they’d be easy to match. But do you have any idea of the different patterns on black socks? Or the different lengths? Or style of cuffs? Or the way they subtly change color after being washed many times or mistakenly coming in contact with the bleach bottle?

What I had was a nightmare — a huge pile of nightmare. Of course, doing this re-matching in the evening was part of the problem. Even with the lights on, my aging eyes had a difficult time distinguishing different patterns. Fortunately, the bleach stains made my job easier — you really can’t miss red blotches on black socks. And, being somewhat cheap when it comes to such things, I debated whether to throw them out or simply wear them only when I knew I wouldn’t be taking my shoes or boots off in public.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this bad habit — who among us hasn’t worn faded or tattered underwear when going out to the store or somewhere it really doesn’t matter? And yes, I still feel guilty when I do that, remembering my mother’s admonition: ‘never go out with bad or ratty underwear.You never know when you might be in an accident and have to go to the hospital! You don’t want to endure the embarrassment of the doctors and nurses seeing your shame!’ And although I thought I’d gotten past that particular homily of motherly advise, I admit I still do think of it. I mean, every woman I know reuses torn or slightly holey pantyhose — mostly under pants for winter warmth…

By the time I finished, I had quite a pile of garbage, several neatly matched and rolled socks in the drawer, and some extra space! I felt a definite feeling of accomplishment. How many people can say that about THEIR Saturday evening? When I confessed my achievement to L’il Sis, she concurred that her idea of a great Saturday night is settling quietly into her bedroom with The Pig, her bird, and listening to radio stories on ‘This American Life’…or sorting closets! That’s just the kind of rock ‘n roll family we are!

But I look forward to date night tonight…and now I’ll have my choice of newly-matched socks to wear.

Perhaps next weekend I’ll tackle my underwear drawer…now THAT will take discipline and courage. Perhaps a bottle of wine will be a prerequisite. At this rate, by the time actual spring cleaning season does come along, I’ll have all the hard work done…and I may be very drunk!

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