“Yeah, housekeepers don’t really keep anything like that. Most people wouldn’t drive back for a sock,” I heard the receptionist reply to me, damningly, over the phone.
“But I’m a regular. It’d be no trouble for me,” I retorted unthinkingly.
“Well, they wouldn’t know that,” she continued, unmoved. Then, to be nice, “So don’t forget your underwear next time either, cause they’ll pitch that too, haha!”
“Haha. That’s a deal,” I replied in kind, though maliciously pouting on the inside. See, I knew all about dirty necrophiliac hotel housekeepers. Throw forgotten socks and underwear away? Right. Sure. If by “throw away” she meant, “sniffed every ounce of man scent out of them while dreaming of someday being friends with George Clooney,” then I could believe they “threw them away.”
I wasn’t about to cry, but I did hold back a torrent of emotion. Frustration and disbelief being the order of the day. How could I—I, Pete Deakon!—forget one of the greatest socks ever assembled on this side of heaven in my hotel room? Phone chargers and loose change, that’s my calling card. Not one of the best socks ever.
Its warmth was unmatched. Its thickness, divine. And when my foot first entered it, I don’t mean each time, I mean I remember the first time I put it on, I swear I saw the face of Jesus.
But now it was gone.
How many times could I look in all the places it could’ve run off to? I triple checked the drawer. I checked both the washer and the dryer at least four times—nothing. I checked my t-shirts. Sometimes, as you know, a sock has been known to get *inside* the garment and I’m not just talking polyester gym wear. Even cotton shirts have been known to swallow a sock or two.
Days went by.
Every time I passed my suitcase—the offending article—I’d nonchalantly open the lid and double-check what was inside. I mean, surely I wasn’t expecting to find anything, especially after so many days and so much effort.
Late last night, however, a novel angle came to mind. I remembered that my wife, at random, scoops up my clothes from the foot of the bed and unthinkingly—I won’t say with evil intent—puts them in her laundry basket.
“Eureka!” I told myself. “That’s got to be it.”
And rather than get out of bed and look right then and there, I savored the thought like only I know how, and slept peaceably until the morning.
“Fart,” I said, hands mingling with bras and who knows what other odd kinds of accoutrements the woman punishes the Maytag man with.
Was there no end to my pain?!
The hour had become late; if I didn’t get going now, I wouldn’t be able to capitalize on a quiet morning that spontaneously bestowed itself on this overworked—an apparently victim of spiritual warfare—father of three, going on four.
I opened the sock drawer to pick out my underwear and socks. There it was—the evidence that I was without. One sock—unmated.
I thought, “I will never again find a sock to replace these.” I was now talking aloud to myself, “These were the best socks Cabelas ever sold. They don’t even have them anymore. Fuck Bass Pro.”
I reached for a pair of underwear.
What is shorter than “instantly”, dear reader?
Seriously. A second is shorter than a minute. A moment is shorter than a second—some lovey-dovey movie taught me that. And I have to believe an instant is shorter than a second. But what I need to describe is an even shorter amount of time.
I mean that in the time it takes to feel a spark, I knew something was different about the pair of underwear I was trying to pull up. It had undue thickness and, again, as quick as a spark, I knew it was heavy—too heavy. I mean, I wasn’t grabbing one of my “off-the-hangar-at-Macy’s-one-pair-only-Tommy-Hilfiger-I-think-they-count-as-MAGA-colors” pairs of 100% cotton underwear. I was touching a newer—and nearly ethereal—pair of Hanes—out of a 5 pack.
As gravity worked against me, all in this single spark of time, I squeezed all the harder and noticed that my fingers were kept separate by some material, some seemingly hidden, spongey, like the thickest of wools-
Picture the blur that is the Guatemalan daycare kids’ hands as they open the Christmas gifts that your high school social studies class got them, picture that and amplify it by every color in the rainbow and every shade of glitter.
These moments don’t happen very often, and at my age, they won’t likely happen very many more times. So I thought to myself, “Let’s not rush things, baby. I know you’re in there. Let me just get my camera quick.”
Long story short, I took four pictures, in sequence, as a time capsule, and sent them to my wife. My final text taunted her to try harder next time, if she really wants to hide my sock from me.
As I’ve been writing this, I know she texted me back, but I won’t check yet—not just yet. These moments—bliss—do not last much longer than a spark, so I’m gonna hold onto this one just a little bit longer.