T calls just moments, from the sound of it, ahead of his nap.
“So you’ll be happy to knoooooooow-aaaaahhhhhh – “ Yawning, he continues to talk, a series of vowels surrounded by articulation-defiant lips. Like many in the restaurant business, T works a second shift. Unable to truly sleep in, our late-morning conversations are liberally sprinkled with yawns, references to siestas, and the sounds of home.
“I’m sorry,” I say. “Wha wa tha nah?”
I can hear him smiling. “I said, you’ll be happy to know that I am no longer a slave to my sockpile.”
“You’re doing this on purpose,” I say.
His smile broadens. “Doing what?”
“Calling me with these ridiculous news flashes of yours.”
“Me?” I imagine he’s pointing an index finger at himself. “Now why would I do something like that? Do you think I want to be a part of your blog?”
I shake him off. “So what’s this about your socks now?”
He sips at something, 1400 miles of ground between us. “The sock pile,” he muses. “They were holding me back, keeping me from being the man I was meant to be.”
“That and lining your sofa with aluminum foil.”
“Only when I’m not home!”
“I don’t care when you do it,” I say. “It’s weird.”
T mutters into his drink. “They’re leather couches.”
“With aluminum foil on them.”
“The cats hate it against their little feet; and until they can learn to keep their lousy little claws in, I will continue to line the couches with foil. They can lay on the floor.”
There is silence as we ponder the deficiencies we have discovered in each other.
“Anyway,” he says, “Sock pile.”
“Ah, yes. Carry on.”
There is the sound of a door opening followed by the sound of feet on crushed seashells. A dove coos overhead. He opens his mailbox, a rusty whine of a sound.
“I’ve dumped them. Gotten rid of the pile, Pearl.”
“Are we still talking about socks?”
“Why, have you heard something else about my piles?”
He laughs, shuts the mailbox. “Seriously, though. I will not be a slave to my unruly and unmatched socks.” He opens his backdoor, calls to his cat – “Come here Mao-Mao! Who’s so sexy? Who’s so sexy?” – and steps back into his kitchen. “Will I be fettered by the undisciplined nature of the solitary sock?” In my mind’s eye, he is raising a fistful of bills, newsletters, circulars in the air.
There is a pause. I’ve missed my cue.
“No!” I say. “There will be no more wanton fettering!”
“By Jove, not while I can fold,” he says grimly.
There is a pause.
“So, wait,” I say. “What did you do now?”
He takes a drink. “I threw out my unmatched socks.”
There is silence, followed by the sound of a fan building up speed.
“Yep,” he says, wistfully. “It’s only matched socks from here on out.”