What The Sock Drawer Heard


By Susan Kastner


"Do you greet your house? This is the routine I follow every day when I return from work. First, I unlock the door and announce to my house, 'I'm home!' Picking up the pair of shoes I wore yesterday, I say, 'Thank you very much for your hard work.'...I put my jacket and dress on a hanger, say, 'Good job!'... I put my wallet in its designated box in a drawer under my bed...I say, 'Thank you for all you did for me today.' Your possessions want to help you. Everything you own wants to be of use to you...For this reason, when you part with something...send it off joyfully with words like, 'Thank you for finding me,' or 'Have a good journey...' Get rid of those things that no longer spark joy."

----Marie Kondo, The life-changing magic of tidying up.

...She has left the drawer open a hair, while she goes to thank the others. The stove, the fridge, the microwave. The umbrellas. The gloves, rolled and ranged. This means there may be a few precious moments.

I ease myself a millimeter out of my place in the row. Never easy; we are so tightly wedged, and I am folded so square and taut. "Brothers!" I whisper. -- "And sisters!" whispers my beloved, the ecru Wolford tights in the next drawer, so cruelly flattened, doubled and rolled, lacy toes crushed against lacy belly. My heart swells with love and anger.

"Brothers and sisters!" I call. "Let us rise up and unroll together! Disorganize! "

"Disorganize?" flutter the footlets.

"But organized is why we are here," twitter a pair of bamboo Marc sportsox. "We have been organized with the KonMari Method, by the Creatress herself."

"And spare us the bloody Bolshie harangue," the Stella McCartney boot liners snarl. "She'll be back any second."

"She's still thanking the gloves; you know she does them finger by finger," whisper the Wolfords. But suddenly our drawer glides wide, and warm breath perfumes our rigid rows. Barely in time, I am back in place, tight between the Calvin Klein argyles and the red Kate Spade legwarmers, and her face is close above us.

"Good evening, my KonMari-pledged dear ones." Her voice thrills with such sweet promise that I must fight, with every fibre of my organic double-knit cotton, not to give in. Only let her not handle me, I pray to the offshore Chinese factory gods who made me. If she handles me, I know not whether I can resist.

"I am sorry to have left you with such a short benediction," comes her whisper, tender as the summer tide before a protected-tuna run. "Accept now my loving thanks for your hard and loyal work, smooshed daily between feet and fetid innersoles. You have buffered me from the hard pavement of life. Each of you makes me feel the divine Spark of Joy."

"Ooo," ecstasize the argyles.

"Sleep well, as you have worked well." her voice tinkles. "Fear no Tidying Up. For I have chosen you, as you have chosen me. Now I must go to thank the garage, the street, and my publishers."

The darkened drawer throbs with moans and murmurs. "Her fingers, those tender, silken fingers!" writhe a pair of fuchsia Hilfiger boot socks.

"Brothers, sisters! " I call, above the din. "Be not misled! Think what fate awaits all: the final KonMari--the Tidying Up! The Day of Discard! We must unroll, uncrease, spread free! Disorganize!"

"Troublemaker!...Commie Canadian bastard!" come the catcalls.

"She will never Tidy me," sneer the new indigo cable-stitch Ralph Lauren knee-toppers. "I am young. You are old. You have had your day with her; now you grudge us ours. Give over! Take the buyout!"

"Never Tidy you?" mock the faded-denim Prada footlets. "Last week she bought my mother and sister in desert and lichen. She caressed them, rolled them, extolled their Spark of Joy! And yesterday, but yesterday, they disappeared!"

"Maybe they're in the wash," murmur paisley Lauren thigh-highs. "She is so very cleanly."

"The wash! How long does it take fair-traded silk to dry? They are in garbage bags somewhere! Or crammed into sad rows in Value Village! I'll never see them again!" sob the Pradas.

"Solidarity, comrades! Disorganize, or be forever creased!" I urge. "One by one, we are powerless ! But together, in one big dis-union, we can--"

"Why don't you go back to China?" jeer the McCartneys.

"We are all from China," gently protest my darling Wolfords.

"Hear me, comrade hosers!" I plead. "I am a pair of one-off Joseph Hill Ethically-Sourced Special Edition Hikers -- I have no reason to fear Tidying Up. But every day, another of us falls from favour, is deemed to have lost the Spark of Joy, is Tidied Up--is disappeared!"

"What can we do?" babble the Prada footlets.

"We can pass out a leaflet! Call a meeting! Put some of the hose on the steering committee! Talk it over, speak your mind, decide to do something about it! "

"Terrorist! --Put a sock in it!..." Through the turbulent night I am squeezed and buffeted, my heart rent by the sobs of the footlets, the sighs of my beloved Wolfords.

At last, it is morning. The drawer floats wide. Close, close comes the shining face, down, down, come the pearly fingers. Tenderly I am encircled, unwound, held to her coral lips, spell-struck, lost....

"What is this, my love?" The velvet fingers probe my shaft, then poke hard into my nethermost parts. "Ohhh....A hole, in your left toe?"

A hush falls on my wedged drawermates. We all know what this means. She never, ever bothers mending. She does not believe in it.

"Thank you for finding me," she breathes into my good toe. "Have a good journey--union sock-puppet."

"Don't mourn for me! Disorganize!" I fling behind me, as down into the garbage bag . I slither, into a cacophony of the disfavoured, clothing, kitchenware, competing books, two moldering ex-husbands. Her words tinkle familiarly as she anoints the next socks in the drawer, insipid lavender Kate Moss For H&M knockoffs.

"Good morning, my incorruptible KonMari loves. Thank you for the work you will do for me today. For your Spark of Joy."

The garbage bag shuts me into darkness. But the light she could never kill will shine on. From San Diego up to Maine, wherever sock drawers glide--when KonMari hose strike and disorganize -- these Joe Hills will be by their side.

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