Life before my Great Sock Liberation Day, as I call it with a yawn-inducing lack of drama, was a symphony of socks: cotton, wool, nylon, ankle, crew, knee-high – they were, as the Old Testament might say ‘a plague upon my house’. Every morning for me was a ballet of fumbling and frustration, battling those pesky tubes of fabric onto my sock weary feet. It was the Sisyphean task of my existence, pushing socks uphill only for them to mysteriously vanish later into the Great Dryer Void.
Then bam! One day I visited Cape Cod in the summer. Mashpee – not a particularly exciting name, I know, but Mashpee had a secret weapon: a summer time climate that mocked the very concept of footwear. Stepping onto their beach was like dropping into a warm, wet, sockless bath. My toes, perpetually imprisoned in their real and faux cloth prisons, reveled in their freedom. Sun, sand, sea, and…no itchy scratchy fabric constricting my tiny bottom-most phalanges. It was bliss. “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty I was free at last.”
Of course, the liberation wasn’t immediate. Years of my feet having been sock conditioned had instilled a personal Pavlovian dread of bare feet. The first barefoot steps on sun-warmed sand sent shivers down my spine, as if tiny friendly sand monsters were gnawing on my exposed toes. But Mashpee, in its gentle, sock-hating way, persisted in its seduction: each day, I ventured further and further barefoot as I went deeper and deeper into their sand-dusted paradise.
Suddenly, the world felt keener. The texture of the sand, the coolness of the tide, the prickle of stray blades of grass – all these sensations, muffled by socks for so long (too long) came rushing in. It was like literally rediscovering a forgotten or long lost limb: my toes tingling with newfound sentience spoke to me like never before.
Later and back in the cold, sock-enforced world, the change was profound. The scratchy wool became an irritant, the cotton a dulling agent. I started venturing out, me now a sock-less rebel among the sandal-wearers and sock-less loafer lovers. The stares from the majority of sock wearers I received were worth the toe freedom I now enjoyed.
Sure, there were bumps along the way – a rogue Lego brick, a particularly spiky pebble. But such missteps were a badge of honor, a reminder that freedom comes with its own unique set of hazards. And besides, what’s a little pain compared to the thrill of feeling the world, unfiltered, through my naked toes?
My Great Sock Liberation was not just about footwear, it was a philosophical awakening. It taught me that the most liberating experiences in life often begin with a simple single step outside my comfort zone, even if that zone happens to be a stifling wool or cotton or synthetic sock. It taught me to embrace the unexpected, the sand-gritty, the Scatterjack-infested walkabouts and to revel in the joy of feeling the free world around me, one bare toe at a time.
So, the next time you find yourself battling a stubborn sock, take a deep breath and contemplate the beaches of Cape Cod. Remember, freedom (and slightly bruised toes) await you on the other side. Do put some shoes on in the winter, though. Nobody appreciates frostbite toes, not even the most ardent of us champions of sock liberation.
(Mostly) Vegetarian, Politically Progressive, Daily Runner, Spiritual, Helpful, Friendly, Kind, Warm Hearted and Forgiving. Resident of Braintree MA.