Having a quirk doesn’t make you a jerk

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Updated Mar 17, 2014

socksEveryone has a “thing”. Everyone I’m close enough to and around enough to notice has at least one defining characteristic that is distinctly different from other people. My best friend is obsessed with historical fiction and will not hesitate to pull a foam sword on you. My mother has an undiagnosed case of whatever phobia encompasses the fear of running out of reading glasses, as she has approximately eleven pair on her person at any given moment. I am fixated on having bad eyebrows, and will spend inordinate amounts of time tweezing, just to turn around and spend just as much time filling them back in with a pencil. It’s a sickness.

George’s “thing” is his socks. He’s so extremely weird about his socks, our son once asked me if his father grew up sockless because the affliction of never having enough socks would be the only thing he could think of that would make his dad so weird about socks. My mother-in-law assures me he grew up with plenty of socks but has always been cranky about his feet. I can attest to this, as the only thing I have ever heard George Parker actively bitch about is having cold feet. He really is as even-keeled as I describe him, but if his feet get wet or cold, or (God forbid) both, he’s an unhappy camper and will likely tell you so. Good socks and warm boots are imperative to Mr. Parker’s happiness.

Keeping everyone’s socks separate was easy until our son became man-sized. He’ll be 17 in May, has a size 12 foot, and is 6 feet tall. He lacks three inches looking his dad in the eye and they now wear the same size shoe. He’s at the weird age where I can pull a green plastic army man out of the same jacket pocket he had the car keys in. He can do grown up things like drive and work, but he’s still enough of a kid to melt army men with a magnifying glass. (I find it necessary to insert here that his dad and I are both still immature enough to enjoy melting a green plastic army man with a magnifying glass. Maybe the poor kid doesn’t stand a chance in the maturity department.)

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I made the grave error of mixing all the socks together last time George came home with laundry. I usually don’t do our son’s laundry (seriously – if you have teenage kids, do them a favor and make them do their own laundry, it’s an excellent thing for them to know how to do and they tend to treat their clothes a lot better when they have to do them themselves). Anyway, I was feeling all nice and stuff, and threw his whites in with our whites, because I don’t wear a lot of white socks and we didn’t quite have a full load. I was being all Martha Stewart, and folded and put everyone’s clothes away, and had just settled down in my office when the caterwauling started.

“MOM?! Are you trying to get me killed? These are all dad’s socks! You have my socks mixed in with his!”

About the time he finished yelling at me, I heard George in the background, from the closet.

“BABE?! Where are all my socks? These are George’s socks. They’re all mixed up!”

I turned around to find them both at the door of my office, looking at me like I had just set them on fire.

“Really guys? Socks? Are we going to pitch a little fit over socks?”

This is where they do what they always do, which is give each other a look that says, “She’s crazy and obviously trying to kill us.” I know they talk about me when I’m not around. They eventually shuffle off and work their sock thing out while I vow never to do whites again.

Home time is awesome.