I’ve had to find some relief from being pissed off all the time. If I think about Hillary Clinton losing the election to Donald Trump, I have to regurgitate every single instance of being underestimated, patted on the head, and being told I was smart for a girl. Appropriate though because I’ve been having a run of acid reflux, unusual for me but fitting. Gall is real. It’s not some imaginary thing. It comes roaring up from my stomach and erupts. So my energies are focused on controlling the incredible gall I feel when I watch the national news. A smart, experienced woman could not beat a hollow-brained, no-nothing blowhard. Oh gee.
One of the things I do is run a donation drive to collect socks for people who are homeless. I’ve done this for several years. And some years, I get a ton of socks. Yesterday, for example, I got nearly 1,000 pairs of socks for homeless people at a single meeting of a coalition. This sounds like a big deal and it is, because people are generous. But it’s not a big deal in terms of me because all I did was ask.
New this year was a radio station asking to interview me about the sock drive. I agreed to this although, at first, I worried that the radio exposure would mean I would get too many socks for homeless people and not be able to handle that. And then I realized that was foolish. How many socks would be too many? So I agreed and went to the radio station for the interview.
I sat in the booth with the very young producer and he asked me why I started the sock drive which is called Sox Rox, by the way, a tremendously creative title, if you ask me. I’d rehearsed this answer in the car on the way to the station because my daughter who is a public relations guru told me to have this lined up. In the car, I talked out loud about how many homeless people there were and how socks were rarely donated. I talked about how socks could prevent frostbite and damage from diabetes. I talked about homeless kids having to go to school with the same pair of dirty socks day after day. So I rehearsed all that. I was ready.
But when we were sitting in the recording booth and the young producer asked me why I started Sox Rox, I told him it was because I was at a low point in my life and that I’d heard that if you help someone else you feel better about yourself. He nodded at me but didn’t ask more. If he had, I’d have told him that when I started Sox Rox, I couldn’t hear most people. My hearing disability had overtaken my entire existence. I was desolate about my life and prospects. I was fading as a human being. I started Sox Rox to be real in the world, as pitiful as it sounds. “When I started Sox Rox, it was a low point in my life,” I said to him. He nodded as if he’d been there. He’d never been there, I could tell. But maybe he would be someday. Who can predict?
Today, we delivered giant bags of new socks to homeless shelters in Milwaukee. We brought a bag of heavy duty warm socks to outreach workers going out to find homeless people living on the street. There are some homeless kids who will wear Frozen knee socks tomorrow and maybe guys going for interviews in new black dress socks. People who don’t have anything else new will tear the wrapper off a pair of new socks and put them on. A lot of things will still be wrong in their lives but they will have decent socks.
Socks are medicine. For them and for me.