I have, in recent times, become something of a ‘new’ man – or rather something of a ‘new sock’ man.
In years gone by the lowly sock was something to which I sacrificed little thought and no great consideration.
Until these past few months my entire sock drawer – I have one it is true, but not one of my own making – contained nothing but in-shoe footwear of a single hue.
I could choose, as Henry Ford never actually said, any colour I liked, as long as it was black.
The only sock-related thought that ever entered my head related to whether the aforementioned item had a hole, and, if so, how big was it and could I get away with wearing it without it being visible over my shoe.
I was, it must be said, ignorant of the ways of socks.
And then, I know not why, something changed.
That something may well seem small and insignificant to the outside world – and even to those who claim to know me best.
In reality however that something proved momentous and the change it set in motion redefined my very nature at a fundamental level.
Under instruction to replenish supplies by the one who must be obeyed or return home to find myself sockless in my forties, I bought – without conscious thought and as if driven by unseen forces – a pair of socks as blue as the pristine waters that lap Pacific island shores.
Later, I was stunned at my indiscretion. The one who must be obeyed was, by turns, hysterical, bemused and downright suspicious.
“What,” the repeated question came, “on earth was I thinking?”
In truth I do not know. In reality I had not been thinking at all. I picked up the first pair that came to hand, paid my money and left the purveyor of cotton footwear’s premises.
Within such unexpected moments of singularity whole worlds are shaken, existences overturned and personal philosophies redefined.
I became, by virtue of one simple absent-minded free-market exchange, a man with decisions to make. A man confronted by the eternal dilemma that has haunted humanity since the dawn of time. I had a choice to make.
No longer was the morning ritual of dressing a straightforward, empty action. Now a selection was to be made – an analysis of situation before even there was the crux of coffee to lean my confusion upon.
Where once there was a void of coherent thought, now there was consideration, assessment, a reading of the day ahead and an analysis of self.
I could no longer stumble and blunder my way through my day, my life, my very existence. All things became a question – a question that had to be answered before progress could be made.
An epiphany had struck me; a moment of clarity – much, I like to think, as occurred to Saul while he mooched along the road to Damascus.
We are the choices we make. They define us, shape us, create the we that each of us becomes.
Needless to say, my sock drawer is now a garden of rich hues; a cornucopia of colour; a rainbow in recognition of the socksmith’s art.
I have at last discovered the joy of socks.