#111: National Socks and Underwear Day

January 11th, 2013

The old woman did a little dance behind the Kmart register.

“I’m almost done!” she yelled as a friend walked by.

She was old and gray, her smile cracking into the deep creases and folds of her skin. I was buying a clothes drying rack and new dress socks.

“How you doing?” she asked as I plopped my socks and drying rack down.

“Good,” I said. “You?”

“I’m about to be good,” she said.

“I heard. You’re about to get off?”

She nodded as she flipped over the drying rack box

“How long you been on?” I asked.

“Oh, I only work a couple of hours.”

She scanned the rack and chuckled to herself.

“You know I don’t want a real job.”

Then she looked at the pile of socks, the argyles and tans, striped and solid. Beeps and canned retail interactions could be heard in the background — the listing of prices and conversations about whether people need bags. The store smelled like sugar-sweetened pizza from the Little Caesars at the front.

“All day, men have been coming in and buying socks and underwear,” the woman said, shaking her head. “All day, socks and underwear.”

She glared at me, mock accusingly.

“Like it’s National Socks and Underwear Day or something.”

We laugh and I tell her there’s no man sock conspiracy. I just needed socks.

It was a nice little moment on a weird, gray day. The world needs more of those. If someone pulls together a petition to make National Socks and Underwear Day real, I’ll sign it.

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