The boys are gone. Richard has moved downtown, Russell has left for Poughkeepsie, and they have left behind — socks. Lots and lots of socks. In so doing, they have inadvertently given me a new quest: to find a match for every orphaned male sock in the house.
This is an ideal quest. It is not unattainable, but it isn’t easy, either. It requires important qualities, like creativity, and inventiveness, and stick-to-it-iveness, as well as the ability to think like an abandoned sock. So far, I’ve found missing socks under beds, in random boxes and crates, in closets, tucked into old shoes, on desks, behind the washer and dryer, and under shelves. I’ve found socks that don’t appear to have ever been worn, socks that look like they have been put into a blender, socks that reek at levels approaching fatal toxicity, and socks that have been left rolled in a ball and then become calcified into a crusty brittle mass.
Still, I feel a rich reward whenever I locate the missing mate for a sock. If that happens, I try to wear the now reunited pair that very day, to experience the immediate satisfaction of a successful quest. As Lancelot, Galahad, and Don Quixote will tell you, any meaningful quest is all about prompt gratification.