Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Miss Match

Today, in addition to closing a new piece of business, participating in a conference call about a client's website, writing and editing (and editing and editing) advertising copy, and working on a big proposal, I did laundry.

I know, I know. You're thinking, 'Wow, what a glamorous life she leads.' Admit it.

One of the great things about running an agency from a home office is that you can multitask. 

So, there I am, brainstorming headlines for an ad campaign and sorting the whites. It had been a few weeks (in this house, the colored hamper fills up much quicker), so I had eighteen or twenty pairs of athletic socks. They are identical except for the Nike logo at the ankle; the familiar swoosh is in three different colors: hot pink, turquoise and black.

As I was grouping them together, it occurred to me that this was a fairly unnecessary task. As I mentioned, the socks are exactly the same, fit the same, feel the same. When I walk or go to the gym, you can't see the logos because I wear long yoga pants. So no one would know if they were mismatched, right?

Wrong. I would know.

That's me, I am a rule follower. Always have been. Always will be. In fact, one of the things that really intrigued me when I started dating my now husband was his disregard for any rules that precluded him from having fun. The first, last and only time I ever played hooky from work was with him. I called in sick on a Friday morning, but was really already en route to Montreal for the weekend. It was exhilarating and liberating and terrifying. I never did it again.

At any rate, I'm sure I would feel the same way if I wore odd socks to Zumba.

One of my favorite instructors, interestingly enough, always has mismatched socks. She laughs about it, shrugging. Her life, with multiple teaching gigs and multiple kids, is just too hectic. 

My daughter, on the other hand, decided a few years ago that mismatched socks would be one of her (many) signature looks. It wasn't that she was busy or lazy, she actually thought it was cool. She's partial to colorful ankle socks, and particularly likes to wear two different holiday themes (say, Jack o' Lanterns on the right, Santas on the left) when the holidays themselves are months away. 

I used to sort her socks, taking the time to match each one to its mate (tracking down all the missing ones too), then rolling the clean pairs into neat little balls. These would be placed gently in her sock drawer, the drawer that she would later turn upside down and inside out, undoing the rolled sock pairs to find the perfect odd couple. I finally gave up.

So, I wonder if anyone has conducted a research study to align different personality types with their approach to matched or mismatched footwear. How do I, my instructor and my daughter differ in our approach to life, the universe and other items of clothing? And, is there a chicken-or-egg element to this? Do my socks match because I'm a rigid rule follower? Or am I a rigid rule follower because my socks match?

Can we ever really change who we are inside?

If I just threw all my socks in a basket and randomly pulled out any two each day, would I be more relaxed?

Hell, no. I'd be stressed out because my socks wouldn't match.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my new book Lovin' the Alien at www.lovinthealien.com.   

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