"As our story continues, we find Sen. John McCain resting in his tent, plotting his fall campaign, as the Democrats continue the longest primary in human history, which has left the pundit club and the blogoswamp with nothing new to say whatsoever. You might as well write about your sock drawer."--Garrison Keillor 4/2/08
I know a challenge when I see one.
Nothing new? Nothing new, Mr. Keillor? Why, a brief peek at Daily Kos reveals diaries concerning FISA, Mukasey, warrantless wiretapping, domestic surveillance, Mukasey...
Well, there's the campaign, of course! Rife for commentary! Obama's incredible cash haul in March! (Like his incredible cash haul in February...or his incredible cash haul in January...or...) The latest polls! (Well, OK, there are always new polls.) The delegate count! (That no one can actually agree on anyway.) The delegates themselves in Florida and Michigan: so many diaries, there must be something new there. Dean is involved! Yes! Primal scream therapy!
Of course, I do see a diary called "I'm bored to tears" and one called "I freaking hate primary season," so maybe this thing is dragging on a tad too long. So, Mr. Keillor, I'm going to take you up on your proposal. I'm going upstairs to investigate my sock drawer.
It's actually sort of amazing what you find when you look in a sock drawer. I mean besides the simple presence of socks, which of course is not particularly amazing at all for the locale. Mine is actually five drawers, which creates a whole lot of interesting conundrums right from the outset, as well as the immediate notion that, along with way too many pairs of shoes, I probably own way too many socks.
Why, for example, are the pantyhose segregated into their own extremely overcrowded and far less spacious drawer than the bulk of the socks? And why are the black pantyhose in yet another separate drawer? Why are the black socks in a separate drawer? Why are the white athletic socks also in a separate drawer? Why in the name of heaven is all of this segregation going on in my dresser?
Perhaps I should not even count pantyhose with the socks, but even without them I have the blacks separate from the whites and then, in a larger drawer that is itself subdivided, the rainbow coalition: variations on three themes from purple/red to green/blue to brown/beige, each subdivision flung together in harmony, randomly mingled in its third of a dresser drawer.
Now I should point out that my underwear drawer does not have this problem at all. Underwear of all colors, patterns, styles, and what-have-you are thrown haphazardly together in a melange of vibrant chaos. So what's up with the socks? I've never once noted any prejudice, though, among the occupants of these drawers. If perchance a pair of black socks found its way into the white drawer, it would be welcomed, treated as one of the family–though it would stand out like a sore thumb–until the day came when it was discovered or used. If socks from the green/blue section spilled into the brown/beige, no one would care. What's a little more diversity among friends?
But that's actually one of the most amazing things: the diversity exists not only between the drawers but within them. My black drawer contains ten vastly different types of pairs of black socks. Some are smooth and shiny; some have ridges and are of thick cotton; some have patterns embedded in them; some even have other colors as well as the black. Some are also mismatched: there are so many whose mates I cannot find that I have simply rolled together socks that are not too dissimilar instead of socks that are exactly alike. They don't complain.
My daughter Julie takes the concept a step further. Unless required for purposes of a uniform, she never wears matching socks. In fact, she mismatches so egregiously that her orange-and-blue left sock might throw an unfamiliar observer into temporary shock if she expects a complement to the Snoopy patterned red-and-green affair on the right foot. And neither sock has anything whatsoever to do with whatever outfit she happens to be wearing (which generally do match, by the way). Her socks are a trademark, but they seem to me to be something more: a sign of thumbing her nose at the way things are done.
My socks are colorful statements, often matching otherwise obscure swaths of teal or violet on a sweater I am wearing and boldly accenting that color instead of calmly and sedately blending into the hem of my slacks. Sometimes, when I wish to give them a treat, I wear them with clogs, so I can show them off to the world. But when they are not on my feet, they live in one of those oddly segregated drawers.
I think I'd like to rip out the little dividers from within that one large drawer and let all of those rainbow colors blend together, the oranges flowing into the greens bleeding onto the fuschias tucking up against the beige-with-green flowers. I don't plant gardens in rows, don't even like them that way; maybe it's time that I break down these old, anal retentive, segregationist patterns that I undoubtedly adopted because they are easier.
And as to those separate-but-equal white and black sock drawers? Well, I've got some nice Christmas socks too; I can create a second fabulous jumble if I want to. But then I'd have a whole new problem to deal with: the forced busing of holiday footwear.
I turned my attention to my sock drawer and I found rampant segregation and racism! Barack Obama is right: this problem is so pervasive that it will never go away if we don't address it. We all need to take the time to do more than talk. We need to walk the talk too. And we might as well start in our dressers.
So that's what I've done with my evening. And if anything new were going on out here in the "blogoswamp," I might never have even noticed it.