Bring Back My Socks

2016-04-10 07:22

Sunday morning 5:30am. It’s dark outside with an autumn chill leaving little doubt that winter is on the way. The house is silent and even Daisy, the German Shepherd, pretends to not notice that I am stirring. “Let me sleep for just 5 min more” she telepathically begs me, whilst imaging (I imagine) being forced to “ablute” on the wet cold early morning grass. I leave her be, as this is my opportunity to do what I have to do. It’s not pretty, but it’s become increasingly necessary. I need to maximize the element of surprise. Because this is going to be a sock raid like none other. It’s time to reclaim what is rightfully mine. It’s time to bring back my socks.

Having four sons means having eight feet to feed. And as anyone with teenage (and older) sons will verify, their appetites are insatiable. It also means that no sock is safe and can and will be pilfered at any time. It means that in the early morning, when looking for a decent pair to to wear, finding one without holes or one that doesn’t have sand in it from playing beach volley ball in socks (it is Johannesburg after all) is nigh on impossible.

And it’s not like I haven’t tried just about everything. The following are some, but not all of the measures attempted:

- Buying them dedicated and easily identifiable socks – like those lovely Woolworths ones with the coloured toes? This to ensure that if they have enough of their own then they will leave mine the hell alone. Didn’t work.

- Buying myself easily noticeable socks. They stole them in any event.

- I have threatened them with abuse that began with tried and tested brutal physicality. But they are bigger than me and in any event find me funny rather threatening. I also tried begging them with genuine and real tears in my eyes but my wife said it was unbecoming so I stopped.

And then recently whilst on a business trip to London I had a brainwave. I would buy my socks outside the country. It was foolproof. There could be no pleading innocence. And surely even they would respect anything purchased in Pounds with the Rand being so valueless. So whilst picking up a few items for my wife and daughter at Marks & Spencer, I spent some time in what is the largest sock department a South African has even seen. Who knew that there were so many options with regard to cotton content.

The check out lady sensed there was more to it than just an underwear purchase. The thing about shopping in London is that along with the price, one gets a running commentary on all purchases. “Isn’t this lovely Edna?” Said the till person to her friend at the next check-out desk, looking at the skirt I had purchased (I also thought it so). And “Ooh, someone has a lucky daughter!” when folding a party dress for Abby. I was slightly thrown by her comment “I remember when these rib tops were the in-thing” suggesting that now perhaps they weren’t, but I pushed on in any event.

When she finally got to my socks, she seemed to pause, look and me and then with a slight smirk said, “How wonderful, buying something special for yourself as well then?” Edna too thought it relevant and stopped her chatter and nodded sagely. I am certain that she was not being ironic but rather understanding on a deep level just how special these socks were to me.

And now they are all gone. Three weeks later and those beauties with the MS logo embroidered so elegantly on the side are all missing. Fifteen pairs purchased in Great British Pounds all stolen by my own flesh and blood. By my sock-wearing teenagers.

And so, with Daisy sleeping, I don all the black clothes that I have and get ready to do what I need to do. Only my feet are bare, because there are no socks in my drawers!

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