Life is all about a good pair of socks
May 19, 2003
I was skidding toward the precipice the other day. What else could go wrong. The caution lights on my car were blinking. Clocks were malfunctioning. Horrifying truths of life were seeping into my brain. I thought, it can’t be all bad, there must be at least one thing going my way.
In fact, something did feel positive. My socks. They felt so good. They were brand new and so cushy on the soles of my feet, so snug on my calves that it just felt like every thread was in exactly the right place. They hadn’t even gotten misshapen or smelly yet.
If everything else was out of sync at least I had comfortable new socks.
Life can often be complex and maddening but there are some things that are so comforting, pure and straightforward that you can’t help but enjoy them. I wasn’t kidding about the socks.
Doesn’t it feel great when something just fits like it’s meant to be. My feet were happy so the rest of me was as well. Maybe not totally and unequivocally content but at least there was a fighting chance. It’s a nice feeling knowing something so mundane and insignificant can brighten my day.
The good news is that there are other things besides socks that can have this effect. I think it applies to anything that seems to be a natural fit. It could be a special object you’ve kept stored away in your closet. It could be a certain time of day or a unique sensation. Whatever it is, some satisfying moments just seem to be untouched by the complexities of the world. They just float around out there waiting for us to appreciate them.
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For example, it is that time of the year when you start opening the windows to let the fresh spring air into the house. Does anything feel better than letting air circulate through a room after a whole winter? You just sit as the air washes troubling thoughts up and away. It feels like you may never need to move again as the earth shifts air masses and your mind drifts.
On a day like this there’s a chance that your heater won’t go on for the first time in months. No recycled air. Just a mountain breeze. Talk about perfection!
How about this. Nothing feels more right in the world than opening a book, reading the first page and realizing that you’re going to be engrossed for the next few hours or days. Somehow you know that you’ll be free to absorb whatever story the author is telling. There won’t be a struggle with it and it won’t be boring. The answer is going to be there; you just don’t know how. It’s predetermined that you’re going to have an interesting time.
A letter that you haven’t opened yet is a great pleasure, especially when it comes from a good friend. Getting it is almost better than reading what’s inside. Sometimes the contents may be disappointing, but before it’s opened all sorts of possibilities race through your mind. What you can make up is limitless.
This one is a little different. Women sit better than men. There’s a natural ease to it. They sit with their arms and legs crossed and seem simultaneously at peace but ready for action. All the body parts fit together. There’s no struggle to remain in place. Just a relaxed position allowing her to absorb whatever is happening. A man sits down and his legs and arms seem to be going in opposite directions. He looks like he’s going to slide off the chair. You know his whole body will end up on the floor eventually. He just doesn’t seem relaxed sitting. In fact, if he looks too comfortable, you become suspicious. He’s too self-assured, smug and probably ready to deliver bad news about your stock portfolio, your girlfriend, or your car.
At this point you’re probably thinking what does this guy do all day, think about socks and women sitting. As a matter of fact, I try too. We can always worry about the bad crazy stuff out there. It’s the pleasant things you miss if you’re not paying attention.
If you can’t relate to any of this here’s a foolproof one. The computer has been mesmerizing you all day. You can barely keep your eyes focused. The screen has more windows open than the Empire State Building in summer. You go up to the menu bar, make one simple click, the whole chaotic mess condenses into a little dot and vanishes. See how simple and carefree life can be.
Lincoln Moy is a graphic artist with the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Offbeat is a column written by Tribune staffers whenever they get around to it.