Opinion: Orphan socks and the meaning of life
Of the big questions we all face, there is one that is strangely unsolved - what happens to socks that get lost in the wash?
It would help if I only knew when socks go missing.
The stages in the process of discarding a worn sock until it becomes available for wearing again are: getting into the laundry basket, being sorted for washing, loading of the washing machine, unloading of same, ditto the clothes line and, lastly, drying on the radiator.
Some separation of pairs at the sorting stage is common - one cream sock may be swept up into the white wash, the other into the colour wash.
So when I first notice that one of a pair is missing, I'm not bothered, feeling that they will meet up with each again shortly. But I sometimes have to accept that one has gone astray.
For some reason, I seem to care greatly about these orphans. So I get a kick out of seeing a pair reunited. Of course, no matter how long a sock lies on the floor waiting for its partner, as soon as I throw the one out, the other will invariably reappear.
It seems that many of the socks which disappear are brighter, newer ones - leading me to wonder whether they aren't being whisked off the line by the fairies for use as sleeping bags.
Or maybe some socks get fed up with the endless cycle of washing, drying, smelly feet; so they head off and merge with other similar individuals into a giant patchwork magic carpet, whizzing around the world.