Thursday, November 11, 2010

sock day

Today Wigwam had a sock sale in Sheboygan.

Apparently this is a biannual event that all of eastern Wisconsin knows about. My parents got in on this tradition two years ago and I ended up stealing most of my mom's socks to claim them for my own. They are warm and beautiful and comfortable and my feet toast champagne in celebration whenever I put them on.

So I ventured into Sheboygan to find this sock sale, all by myself. Google maps told me where to go, but when I pulled into the parking lot, I stopped the car in front of a giant warehouse and bent my head to peer out the windshield. A steady stream of people exited through a door with no handle on the outside, all of them carrying unmarked brown paper bags. I watched them for a few seconds, to make sure they didn't look like they were brainwashed or zombies or pale (a sure indication that a vampire had just feasted on them). They looked normal enough.

I parked and walked toward the entrance. An old lady, waddling and wearing a fleece jacket with pastel wolves on it, walked in front of me and I used her as a source of comfort, because nobody would attack me or kidnap me or try to suck my blud if I stood close enough to an old lady. (My reasoning is just flawless.)

I walked through the door and down a hallway, where I felt like muttering, "Walkin' the Mile, walkin' the Green Mile," and hoped I did not meet the same end. And when the hallway ended, I stopped and my eyebrows said to my hairline, "I'm coming to meet you." Aisles formed by open boxes filled a large, hallow warehouse, and dozens of people filed up and down the aisles, stopping occasionally to bend at the waist and dig through piles of socks.

I laughed.

And then I dove in.

If you have never dug through a cardboard box full of wool socks, I suggest you do so. It is a humbling yet strangely satisfying experience, much akin to what I assume pigs feel when they hunt for truffles. I've never asked one. But next time I see one, wearing my Wigwam socks, I know we'll exchange glances, and I'll smile, and the pig will nod, and we'll walk away with a bond that anyone who has not dug for socks or truffles will not understand.

At first I was too self conscious to dunk my head in a box, and casually walked down the aisles, surveying the piles from a safe distance. I stopped in front of one, and bent a little to swish some socks around noncommittally. Everyone else had their own individual boxes to fill with socks. And people walked around like chickens trying to decide which coup they wanted to nest in. And when I realized that I couldn't possibly look more ridiculous than the rest of these people, and that the women wearing shirts with cupcakes made from puffy paint weren't going to judge me, I stooped my head into a box and dug with claws of a raptor.

And with my head in a box, I listened to the conversations of the people around me.
"Do you think Tommy would fit into a large?" One lady said.
Another couple walking side-by-side surveyed their box. "I've already got enough for the kids...." Oh, what a happy Christmas those children are going to have.

Dear Santa,
This Christmas I would really like some socks. I will be an extra good boy if you can make them Wigwam. Please give the skateboard and iPod Touch to some other child with less ambition. Sincerely, Johnny

One young lady shuffled through a box of socks and frustratedly said into her cell phone, "Well how is he supposed to keep his job if he forgets to tell people what's wrong with their ears?"

I hope "he" is not a doctor, and that I have never gone to him.

In the end I walked out of the door with no handle on the outside, carrying an unmarked brown paper bag full of socks. I feel like a true Eastern Wisconsinite. And my feet are pouring the bubbly as we speak.


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