Somewhere, in a parallel universe, along with biros, pencils and important bits of paper which you could have sworn you kept, there are herds of odd socks.
I was glancing through an article on de-cluttering recently (skim-reading as usual, so I've no idea where in the interwebs it was,) which posed the question: Do you throw away odd socks? The article was about de-cluttering, so the expected, correct answer would have been: Yes.
As I browsed on, the question stuck in my mind. I have quite a pile of odd socks. They drive me mad. I live alone in a small (admittedly untidy) cottage, so where do the other socks go? I know they get caught in the sleeves of sweatshirts, in pillowcases and duvet covers, and occasionally knocked under the bed by one of the cats in playful mood. They stick to the drum of the washing machine and lurk there, waiting to join the next load. I've found a couple which were making a break for freedom down the back of the washing machine. I opened my dance workshops kit bag ready to go away to JWAAD Fantasia last December and found a lonely sock in the bottom of it. I was sure I had emptied the bag, but must have dropped one sock as I hauled the rest of it off to the laundry hamper.
I was doing laundry for a friend who was in hospital a couple of months ago, and found she had an even worse problem with odd socks than I did. While sorting through her socks, I found that some were designed as complementary pairs; a pair of white socks, but one would have a blue heel and pink toe, the other a pink heel and blue toe. I'm not sure I would be able to cope, although I do like subtle jokes. I saw a pair of navy blue socks with a picture of a red light on the left ankle and a green one on the right years ago; I should have bought them. Anyway, I'm quite happy for others to do as they please, but I like my socks in matching pairs.
I know a few people who really don't care about matching socks and just take the first two which come to hand. They could be making a fashion statement (anything I wear is cool), a lifestyle choice (because they really can not be bothered to pair up their socks), or are so busy (e.g. being laundry maid and everything else to husband and young children) that any clean socks in the drawer when they need them is a win.
Should I just throw odd ones away? The thought of just tossing them out and adding to the landfill makes me shudder. What a waste, when, if their pair really has been taken by the sock eater, they could be made into sock puppets, draft excluders, cat toys, toy stuffing, used as dusters or decorating rags .... I have a pile of old, threadbare socks somewhere, waiting for a second life.
I've just taken some dry socks down off the laundry airer and there were nine pairs, no odd socks. Maybe I have a second pile of odd socks somewhere, which contain the pairs to those in the first pile. Or maybe I have a sock eater living in the cottage somewhere, ready to strike again.