Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Clever Socks

This is a somewhat detailed account of my first experience with a new pair of really high-tech socks. It is also something of an intelligence test, so I hope you will concentrate.

I should explain that this particular pair of socks has the embroidered motif ”Left” on the left sock, and there is a matching motif ”Right” on the right sock. The illustration above is only a basic model - my new socks are much more high-tech, as you will gather from the description below....

The ”Left” and ”Right” motifs are embroidered just above the sock toes, and each motif appears twice on each sock. Now you may wonder why each motif appears twice on each sock, but the explanation is really quite simple. You see, some people will look down at their feet to check that each sock is on the correct foot, and other people (like me) are in the habit of checking by looking in the mirror.

For this reason, each motif appears once on the upper foot facing the wearer, who can easily read it when looking downwards, and it appears again closer to the toes facing forward, away from the wearer. This makes the forward-facing motif easy to read in the mirror.

I think the chap who invented my socks must have been a keen driver, because the forward-facing motif ”Right” or ”Left” on a sock is written in exactly the same back-to-front and inverted way as the words “Police” or “Ambulance” on the front of emergency service vehicles. When you look at these words through a mirror, they appear the correct way around. Now that’s very clever, you may say.

But the really, really clever thing about these socks is that the motifs are embroidered with a bright yellow thread that is luminous. This is extremely useful for someone like me who tends to get up in the morning just before daybreak. Rather than switching on the light and disturbing my partner, I’d resolved to keep my luminous socks on my bedside table, where they would be clearly visible and easy to put on when I woke up. And I reasoned that I could use the luminous light that would be emitted from my socks to help guide me when I got up from the bed and started moving around in search of my underwear.

Well, you can imagine my consternation this morning. I was standing there in my socks in the dark, viewing the reflection of the luminous writing in my cheval mirror. And horror upon horror, I could see in my reflection that my socks were on the wrong feet!

But I hadn’t gone to all the trouble of buying these socks, only to find myself wearing them the wrong way round, had I? So I immediately sat back down on the bed, pulled the socks off, and put each sock back on a different foot.

Then I stood up to check my feet again in the mirror.

I was pleased to see that the socks were now on the correct feet. But the luminous writing had dimmed, and had a strange fuzzy appearance. Even worse, the inverted writing at the toe of each sock, which should have appeared in correct English in the mirror reflection, had magically been transformed back into an inverted format. And I was shocked to see that the writing was upside-down.

It must have taken five minutes or so of feverish intellectual turmoil, with me standing in the dark and staring at my mirror, before it dawned on me that I had pulled my socks off from the neck down. This had effectively turned the socks inside out before I’d swopped the socks around and put them back on again. So I had inadvertently inverted the inverted writing, and turned it upside-down. The writing on the socks had lost some of its luminous clarity because I’d exposed the reverse side of the embroidery.

So I sat back down on the bed, took each sock off in exactly the same way as before (thereby turning it inside-out) before replacing it on the same foot.

Then I stood up to check my feet again in the mirror. Yippee! I’d solved the problem!

That’s when a bedside light was turned on behind me. I turned and saw my girlfriend’s face grinning at me.

“Why have you got your socks on the wrong way around?” she asked.

I turned back to look in the mirror. “But I haven’t!” I exclaimed.

But I had. Can you figure out why?



Canary Islander said...

I dedicate this blog to my friend JW, who has been pleading for another sock blog!

JW10 said...

Dear C.I

Thank you for a new sock blog; an early Christmas present. Your essays on socks are so well-informed and educational (loads of fun, too).

As for the sock conundrum I’ll let the ladies have first shot at working out the puzzle. Because I haven’t a clue. In the meantime I’m off to sew some left and rights on my socks.

Canary Islander said...

Thanks JW!
I've been busy searching for a clue in the writings of the great philosophers. Here's one:

"I am the mirror image of my own reflection". - Sockrates.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Do you really 'haven't a clue', JW? Because I was getting more & more agonisingly confused as I read, and when I got to the 'can you figure out why' bit, I was mortified with uselessness.

Does this post have a Deep Inner Meaning? I surrender, CI. But Hugely enjoyed it...

Expat said...

I was about to write something about Michelangelo and Lewis Carroll when I saw you'd already given an early clue, CI.

Now I'm sulking.

Canary Islander said...

Well, the score is 2-? because I'm not really sure if Expat knows the answer or not!

I know you will all be all hugely busy over Christmas and so I'm giving you the solution to the conundrum now. Thanks to you hugely for your comments!

I actually put my socks on correctly in the first place. But when I looked in the mirror, I saw what appeared to be someone's left foot wearing a right sock, and vice versa.

You can prove this for yourself by looking in the mirror and waving you left foot around. In the mirror. it looks like you are waving your right foot around!


Dolores Doolittle said...

Ah-Haaaah! And just whose was this fiendish foot in your looking glass? (clever Expat!).

May all your socks be cosy ones, and a Joy-filled Christmas to everyone!

Expat said...

Yes, I had worked it out. They don't call me the Sherlock Holmes of Notting Hill Gate (remember that?)for nothing...

Merry Christmas everyone!Stay safe and warm.

And remember...don't drink and drive. Pull over to the side of the road first.

Canary Islander said...

Gosh - I love you all!

Here's to more fun in the New Year!

JW10 said...

Nice one CI, thanks for putting me out of my misery.
The Bizz will be closed down over the festive period so I'll take this chance to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Don't forget to hang up your Christmas stocking and make sure it is the right way up. :-)

XXXXX- Kisses to everyone.

Canary Islander said...

Cheers JW!
And all the very best to you and yours!