Socks Without Partners

I found myself somewhere between the Breastfeeding Support Group and the Menopause Education Group. There are support groups for practically everything and everyone, yet I haven’t found one that meets my needs. Scanning dozens of descriptions in the paper, I learned I’m too old for Mommy Playgroup and too young for Empty Nesters.

I could start my own groups —

  • Stretch Marks Never Fade and They Certainly Don’t Tan: Bring your favorite self-tanner product to share.
  • Acne Over 30: Learn to share the Clearasil with your teenager without starting a family feud.

Then I realized the Bus Stop Mommies already cover these topics at the corner; so I continued to scan the list.

Here’s one!

“Do you have baskets, drawers or paper sacks full of unmatched socks? Bring them and join us, 7 p.m.” The address seemed familiar. I pulled into the stately, manicured neighborhood — the kind you drive by and think no one there could possibly understand your laundry angst. After three trips around the car- jammed streets, I blocked in a Suburban, sneaked inside and hid myself in a back corner just in time to hear,

“Tonight’s meeting of Socks Without Partners will now begin. Let’s open with our prayer:

‘Dear St. Whirlpool, we humbly invoke your intercessions before the Clorox white throne. Help us to accept sock mysteries. Make our tear-stained garments and broken pairs whole again.’

Who would like to share first? But remember Step 1: Respect everyone’s privacy.”

“Um, hello. My name is Amy Q. I’ve been suffering from Socks Without Partners for two years now.”

A chorus of welcomes rang out. “My name is Liz K. This is my first meeting. My husband thinks I’m grocery shopping.”

After several introductions, from vaguely familiar voices, the leader recited more of the steps. “Step Two: No crying over spilled bleach. Step Three: Admit you’re powerless over the agitator. Four: Forgive yourself for being ungrateful all those years Grandma bought you socks for Christmas. Five: Forgive your spouse for owning twelve different shades of navy blue socks….”

As she continued, I climbed on an end table to gaze above the masses. Holy cow, the entire County Coalition of Bus Stop Mommies was there—plus my vet, orthodontist and boss’s wife! Each one held anywhere from a handful to a Hefty bag full of unmatched socks…their mates probably having met their fate in the laundry twilight zone, dog’s bed or sand box.

Next, women swapped socks with each other. Shouts of glee arose each time a pair was created.

The hostess piped up above the chatter and cheers: “Don’t forget Step Eleven: All remaining mismatched socks become rags. No regrets.”

Caught up in the joy, I summoned the courage to ask, “What’s Step Twelve?”

Silence fell and a room full of sock-clutching women looked to Lynn, our fearless leader.

“Step Twelve never made it out of the washer.”







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