Folding Socks

Phillip and I did laundry today. We met a great old guy at the laundromat. (I call him an “old guy” even though he was probably the same age as us, more or less.)

He was sitting at one end of the bench. We were sitting on the other end. When Phillip had gone to check on his laundry, the old guy called over to me.

“Hey, I’m sorry, but can I ask you a favor? Can we switch places? I want to plug in my tablet.”

Of course, I didn’t mind. I knew Phillip wouldn’t mind, either. I didn’t point out that there was an outlet at his side of the bench, too. I think that would have been rude – it would have given the impression that we did mind. We switched places. Then I walked over to Phillip and let him know we’d moved over to the other side of the bench, and why – just in case Phillip might think the old guy took our spot without asking, or something.

After a while, the old guy called over to me.

“Hey, I’m sorry, but can I ask you another big favor? I want to go next door to get something to eat. Can you watch my tablet and stuff while I’m gone?”

At that point, Phillip had already gone next door to City Market for drinks – it’s a sort of tradition of ours on laundry day – and returned, but it’s back to being much too hot in Seattle, so it was my turn to go for more drinks.

I saw the old guy in City Market. I told him we’d sold his stuff on eBay. He thought that was funny. I thought he was leaving the store, so I held the door open for him. We wasn’t leaving just yet – he was going over to buy a lottery ticket.

Later, he called over to Phillip and me: “You guys are my lucky charm! I won $200 on my ticket! I never win anything!”

I got done with my laundry before Phillip did, so I started to help him fold his socks. I asked him: “How is it you like your socks folded, again?”

“The same way you do. I’m doing it your way now.”

So I folded a pair of socks just like I’d folded mine a few minutes earlier: With the tops of the socks rolled down an inch or two, just enough to hold the two socks together.

“No,” said Phillip, “I want them your way. You know, folded over twice and then turned inside-out into a little ball.”

I didn’t get it. That’s not how I fold my socks. And yet, folding his socks that way felt familiar, somehow.

It took me a long time to figure out what was going on with our socks. Then it suddenly occurred to me. Once upon a time, years ago, I used to fold my socks into a ball and Phillip folded his top-down. Then, at some point, his way made more sense to me – it was faster, and I could see the sock pattern –  so I started folding my socks his way. Phillip, at some point, decided that my way made more sense – it made socks more compact – and he started folding his sock my way.

We have switched sock-folding styles. My way is now Phillip’s way and Phillip’s way is now my way. That’s why Phillip thought my way was his way, and why I didn’t recognize “my” way.

I requested The Deluxe Bar & Grill for lunch after laundry, and Phillip agreed, even though he would have preferred to drive somewhere in our air-conditioned car. I had three reasons for requesting The Deluxe.

First, we’d be walking past the library, and I could drop off Gilmore Girls for everyone on the hold list. I did that on our way to lunch.

Second, it is hot in Seattle, and I was in the mood for a cool salad, and The Deluxe was the first place that came to mind. (Later, after we’d returned home, I thought of IHOP. They serve salads, and we’d have to drive there.)  I had in mind either a Cobb salad or their Vietnamese Chop salad.

The Deluxe had something new on their brunch menu, however: a baked avocado with egg, cheese, and tomatoes.So, that’s what I had, and it was delicious.

Third, I needed new underwear, and Under U4 Men is across the street from The Deluxe. Their underwear is pricey, but worth it, so I could afford only two pair. But that’s all I needed.

Have I mentioned that it’s HOT in Seattle?

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