My name is Genevieve and I am a sockaholic.
Yes, I joke. I don’t take addiction lightly, believe me. I’ve witnessed many a struggle with substance abuse, saw my mother’s second husband die of cirrhosis after years of alcohol abuse, and experienced my own battle not so many years ago.
But I do have an issue with socks. Or chaussettes, in French. J’aime vraiment les chaussettes. Everything sounds better in French. Tout sonne mieux en français.
I’ve always had a thing for colorful legwear. As a youngster I loved colorful knee socks and tights, although the tights never lasted long as I also had a lot of skinned knees (still do; haven’t outgrown my clumsiness).
My mother used to tell me that when I first got my own room, a tiny room but all mine (!), and I had my own dresser, I asked her for empty shoe boxes and put them in the drawers so I could organize my socks by color. This sounds completely like me, by the way, so I believe it’s true. In fact, I should start doing that again. I had an epic fail with the drawer dividers I bought. Although that’s because the drawer is so full it won’t shut anymore. I need a dedicated sock cabinet! Many women yearn for a shoe closet; I yearn for a sock cabinet.
There’s also my legging collection. Remember the words colorful legwear. That can cover a lot of ground.
In one of my knitting phases, I decided knitting my own socks was the way to go, so I joined a “sock a month club” and started receiving sock-knitting kits. I realized quickly that I could never knit a pair of socks every month. Precisely because you have to knit two of them. The first one is fun and great and you take it off the needles feeling so proud, and then you realize, “Oh crap, I have to knit another one now.”
I recently got the brilliant idea from my friend Debra of mixing up socks so I don’t have to worry about the concept of pairs. I wish I’d thought of that in my knitting frenzy. I could have kept going only knitting one sock of each pair and just mixed them up as the mood hit.
Reminds me of my favorite David Hockney photograph that I recently saw at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. It’s a subtle mismatching, but quite an elegant one. I never really liked David Hockney’s paintings that much, but I discovered his photography and now I am a fan.
Ironically, my photographic homage to Hockney is all images of my bare feet, not my socked feet, so maybe my obsession is with my feet and not socks per se?
Recently I discovered Blue Q socks, and that was the game changer that took me from a sock enthusiast to a sockaholic. I did already have a pair of Blue Q socks, a Christmas gift from Bob’s nephew Joe and his lovely wife Isabella.
While not a Blue Q sock, the banned book socks I received from Joe’s parents another Christmas gave me the idea that one could speak their mind on the their socks, not just on t-shirts or bumper stickers.
Then came the final piece of the puzzle–a trip to the wonderful store Nathan & Co. in Oakland. I’ve loved Nathan’s ever since Nathan himself adopted a dog from the East Bay SPCA when I was a volunteer there. The store is so cool; I can’t go in without buying something. There were the Blue Q socks, full of attitude and f-bombs. I don’t speak in f-bombs, but I love the idea of wearing them on my socks, hidden by my jeans, my little sassy secret.
A sock monster was born. In Iceland, I discovered a store in Reykjavik that was both a great coffee bar and a purveyor of all things Blue Q. Apparently, Icelanders share my sense of humor.
And then there was the hosiery store that teased me with their window display of tights (hey, I said colorful legwear, not just socks) only to be closed. Foiled! I could have had puffin tights! Or Icelandic horses!
I came home with a renewed obsession with Blue Q socks. They are far too easy to order online. I began to get in trouble.
I was doing better after a spate of purchases, happily living with the sock collection I had accumulated, when along came the SockPop, a pop up sock shop in Berkeley in the Elmwood neighborhood, on College Avenue. I was at Timeless Coffee Roaster, an amazing vegan coffee place, to see a friend before going to work, and was heading back to my car figuring I’d just make it to work on time.
And there it was. But my sock-clad feet (appropriately coffee-themed) walked right in.
I was in trouble. Socks everywhere. Cute animal socks. Snarky socks. Socks with cat ninjas!
I succumbed. I was 20 minutes late for work. Was my sock addiction becoming a problem? I posted for advice. My colleague and friend Stewart responded: “According to clinical guidelines, no intervention required until you get to the point where there are ‘repeated significant negative consequences (e.g, financial problems, neglecting other responsibilities, etc.)’ Not there yet? Then you’re still in the ‘eccentric but non-problematic’ category, so….enjoy it while you can. The dues aren’t high enough yet!”
Was being late for work because I was sock shopping considered neglecting my responsibilities? I focused on the word repeated. I’d been late to work before, of course, but only once for the crime of pop-up sock shopping. I decided to go with eccentric but non-problematic, a phrase I want on a pair of socks…
Peace and hugs. I could get that on a pair of socks too…