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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Monday, August 7, 2023

There is a parallel dimension in the quantum realm, a dimension where it could almost be the reality you know except things there are just slightly off, in a way you can’t quite pinpoint except you know it to be true.

The doorway to this dimension is in the washing machine.

People think the washing machine eats socks. I know this to be untrue. The washing machine is merely the conduit to an alternate reality where there is one more or one fewer sock, where your favorite shirt is mysteriously transformed into a similar shirt two sizes too small.

The washing machine giveth, and the washing machine taketh away.

Some time ago when I was googling ideas for blog topics, someone’s genius suggestion was to give laundry tips for beginners. Because that’s exactly what you want to hear today, isn’t it? I imagine in the alternate dimension where my sock is, an alternate me is giving laundry tips for beginners. I, however, am going to enlighten you to the wormhole in the center of your agitator.

A wormhole is bidirectional. I looked it up.

This explains a lot.

It explains, for instance, how you could fold your laundry today and be missing one half of a set of socks, and be folding your laundry tomorrow and have two extra socks that you have never seen before in your life.

I’ve been missing one black sweat sock for months. It is nowhere in my drawers, nor in, near, or around the laundry closet. Its lonely companion has stayed in the laundry basket awaiting the return of the former from its trip into whatever dimension it has been enjoying.

I know this is no surprise to you. I know you have gone through this too. I also know that, given enough time, some statistically significant number of socks magically reappear when and where you least expect them.

Sometimes I have found the missing sock under the bed, where I had previously and repeatedly looked for it with my face to the carpet. Sometimes it has reappeared right in the laundry basket next to its match, no explanation.

Occasionally it will show up in a pants leg, pants that I have worn several times with no sock forthcoming, until one day in the middle of dinner at a restaurant, say, I will feel a bit of discomfort and shake my leg only to have a sock fall out.

It happens.

That’s the thing about the quantum realm. Objects can move in four dimensions, disappear and reappear at will. Someone in Montana has probably found a few of my socks in their washing machines.

It works both ways. Sometimes I will find other people’s socks. I’ve recently discovered a pair of gray ankle socks with little red stripes that have no source, no explanation, no symmetry with anything I have ever owned in my life. Yet there they are, in my closet.

It’s not like I have a constant stream of guests, where one may have forgotten to put their socks back on after a wild night of cocktails and pedicures.

There must be something about the physics of socks that makes them so susceptible to quantum displacement. But they are certainly not the only things that travel this way.

Sometimes other articles of clothing appear in the laundry basket as well. I will look at a black t-shirt, for example, and wonder whose it is. I’ll ask Ralph and he will deny recognizing it. I’ll ask my brother, who is the only person who has done laundry here other than me, and he will lay no claim.

Someone, somewhere, is wondering what happened to their t-shirt. I’m here to tell you, I have it.

There’s a lost and found in every human establishment, from movie theaters to malls. We are frequently asked to look for missing dogs and even the occasional stray grandparent. But nobody has yet thought to start a worldwide network of lost sock alerts. I think I’ll start one called Looking For A Match. I wonder how many socks could be reunited if only there was, say, a Facebook page where you could put your Missing posters.

My mother has discovered a dress in a closet in her house that belongs to no one. No friend, no girlfriend, not even a boyfriend. It is not one of mine leftover from high school. One day it was not there, and one day it was.

Somewhere in Idaho or perhaps in alternate dimension Idaho, someone is wondering where on earth their favorite dress went.

Clothing rarely returns from whence it came, but only socks, due to their unique atomic makeup, occasionally do.

Today, a sock returned to me. It has been gone for a few weeks but I did not give up. I set its mate aside and waited for the wormhole to open back up and spit it out.

As I was folding today’s basket full of clothes, I found it, balled up inside another sock, way down at the toe end. I gave a little woot.

I hope wherever these clothes go, they are having an adventure.

Now, I hope whoever is enjoying my blue glove will kindly return it. I really do miss that glove.

Photo: sock, rediscovered.