As some of you know (and most of you don’t), I took part in NanoWriMo last year for the first time. In case you’ve never heard of it, the full name is National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. While that’s actually too short to qualify as a novel, it’s a darned good start. I “won” by completing the 50,000 word challenge.
One of the things we’re asked to do is to support Nano, which is a nonprofit that also runs summer camps and other goodies for young writers, as well as us oldies. I made a donation and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I’d won a prize—a free course of my choosing from Gotham Writers.
Having won my prize, I was faced with choosing what course to take. I looked at fiction courses but, having written fiction for years, decided I would venture into new territory. I signed up for a nonfiction course.
The course, imaginatively titled Creative Nonfiction, ran six weeks. Each week students were required to turn in some type of writing assignment, always in fewer than five hundred words. Which brings me to the topic of this post. On the week we were assigned to write a personal essay, I wrote my sock rant. I share it below. Hope you enjoy it.
I hate seams in socks. As I write this, I’m looking down at my feet in a pair of green socks with toe seams, asking myself why I even own them, let alone put them on. Did I mention I hate them?
My sock hatred goes way back. When I was a kid, I would run around barefoot most of the summer, eschewing not only socks but also shoes. Even in winter I went barefoot in the house. Somewhere along the line I succumbed to societal pressure and now wear socks most of the time. At home I rarely stand up without putting on slippers. I’ve gone establishment.
I didn’t know why I hated socks as a kid, but I learned a lot from my own children. It was a nightmare getting out of the house. Every morning we went through the same routine. My son was the worst. He would put his shoes on, take them off, adjust his socks, and put the shoes back on, only to start the process all over. This would go on for what seemed hours to me (okay, a little hyperbole here), as I calculated just how late I would be to the clinic or hospital. My daughter was only slightly less difficult about socks. She was worse about tags, but that’s a different rant.
I now know that my children and I are not alone. Sensitivity to sock seams is a thing (also to tags, but again, a different rant). In our case it’s probably part of Tourette Syndrome, which we all share. We’re neuro atypical.
Sensory processing issues are common among the neuro atypical. There are other reasons for sensitivity, of course—arthritis, eczema, scarring, just to name a few. Huge numbers of people are sensitive to seams in socks.
Some sock manufacturers have caught on to this and produce “seamless” socks, which may or may not actually be seamless. Some just have less intrusive seams. Regardless, they’ve been a godsend. I get that most manufacturers prefer making seamed socks. The process is easier and cheaper. The majority of the purchasing public is happy with those socks, though it’s a mystery to me how they’re not bothered by them.
Even if you’re not seam-sensitive, I’m betting you’ve taken your shoes off because a seam was irritating your little toe, as it rubbed against your shoe. You’ve adjusted your sock and put the shoe back on, only to find you didn’t move it far enough and had to repeat the process.
I have a request for all sock manufacturers out there. Please transition to seamless socks. Just about everyone will thank you, even if they don’t know it yet. Parents of seam-sensitive kids most certainly will love you for it. Adults with arthritic toes, or who just hate seams will too. Excuse me while I go change my socks.