Only a few people in the world, my closest confidants, know this fact I am about to publicly declare. It is not something I am proud of and it is a downfall I must work on daily. I can handle a lot of gross things, disgusting bathrooms, cleaning out the cat box, hearing from my mother about how I was conceived. But there is one thing I just can't deal with.
Socks. Yup, those nasty things on your feet.
Socks gross me out. A lot. Not feet, no feet I am fine with, I even like feet! That's pretty weird too, most people hate feet, but I think feet are funny and natural, I would even say some people have cute feet. Socks, on the other hand. Not so cute or funny. They are disgusting. Downright rotten. Dirt and germ catching feet gloves that develop outlines of feet when they have been worn too long. It's awful to even think about it and I have to stop being so descriptive because it is making me a little sick.
Korea is quite possibly the worst place for someone with such a phobia. Number 1, it is cold, so socks are quite necessary, unlike my previous location where flip flops were suitable for every occasion. Number 2, Koreans take off their shoes in most situations including school and show off their socks like fashion accessories. My kids take off their shoes when they come into my classroom. So all day in my classes, I stare at socks.
I have a serious affliction when it comes to socks, I hate them but they fascinate me as well. They are like "little people", they freak me out but I can't look away. (Hey, I used the politically correct word didn't I? I'm not that awful of a person...) It was bad at first, all I could look at were these kids' socks. I mean I studied them. Noticed all the different kinds, could see the grime outline of their little toes when they sit in certain positions, watched the feet under them wiggle their toes (which would be cute had the thin layer of cotton not been covering them) and became almost obsessed with them.
Thankfully, Korean kid's socks are much better than most American kids' socks and are usually clean and pretty cool. There are all kinds of different designs, some with Spongebob or Hello Kitty, others with polka dots or stripes. My favorites are the ones that make an animal when you hold your two feet together. The variety of socks in Korea is actually quite shocking. Plus they are always matching. Always. One would never pair a striped sock with a Pokemon one, that is unheard of. They are considered a pair and should be discarded when the matching is lost. I appreciate this logic, yet also enjoy the irony of the mismatched sock myself.
This sock loving culture has actually changed me. These harsh words towards socks are coming from a deep, dark place inside my soul which will always cringe at the thought of the word and the visuals it produces. Yet, I can write this post and feel okay with it. I almost, almost, in the loosest sense of the word, like socks here in Korea. I had to wear them this winter and it was difficult for me. But I can buy several cute pairs for very cheap and then throw them out when I decide enough is enough, usually after two wears or so (this Korean sock intervention has made it better, but I am no where near a normal person.)
I am even brave enough to wear my socks just for fun because they are so dang cute. I would say that is at least number 7 in the 12-step program. Go me. Thanks Korea, for helping to ease the psychosis that is my life.
Eric's new socks!
typical sock assortment
Big Bang socks!!!
I think these are hilarious...