THE LAWSON’S PEAK BOOKS

Strange Happenings

Harry Middleton once mentioned “the strange goings-on inside my sock drawer late at night” to describe some of the weird things that happen around us.

Certainly, socks are a prime example of how the so-called physical laws of the universe are merely desperate attempts by the human psyche to dismiss the things that don’t make sense or explain those that give us the willies.

Socks, for example, tend to either decrease in population overall, or suffer divorce wherein one part of the pair apparently moves to a different household, leaving a stranded mate in the drawer, all alone. This happens repeatedly to socks, I suspect it is because of some sort of sock domestic abuse, but often enough we find solitary socks living lives of hermits.

The same is, apparently, true of clothes hangers. You never, ever have just the right amount of clothes hangers, somehow. You either are two or three short or two or three in excess. Sometimes, these little creatures, which I am sure, are alien beings, embark on an extreme rampage of propagation. One day there’s a couple extra on the bar, the next there are dozens of empty ones jammed together between the pants and dress shirts and piled up at the bottom of the closet in a hopelessly tangled mess. Generally, I attempt to sort them out for an hour or so but end up throwing the whole rat’s nest into the garbage can. I don’t worry about the waste. They’ll reproduce again soon enough.

Junk drawers are a different story entirely. Every kitchen has a junk drawer, that one little cubbyhole where stuff that has no other proper place ends up. In time, this transforms into a miniature landfill inside your cabinets. Any given junk drawer will contain things that, when you open it, completely mystify you as to how it got there.

I was looking for batteries the other day and opened my junk drawer. Inside, I found two old cell phones, several packs of tacks, manuals for electronics equipment I haven’t owned in 20 years, toothpicks scattered around like driftwood, string, twist ties, coins, beads, birthday candles, fishing flies, toys from when I was a toddler and, most amazing of all, a few batteries.

Eventually, some junk drawers also replicate and spread out around the house, ending up in the chest of drawers in the bedroom, the hutch in the dining room and the side-table by the sofa.

Weird things happen in the world, which we just cannot explain. Take the center console in my truck. It has voluminous storage capacity, with little trays and the like where you can stick stuff like coins. I never lift this console, and I don’t hit many horrendous bumps, but somehow the coins end up all over the rest of the console and on the back floor board, sometimes even in the truck bed. I don’t know how these things happen and am pretty sure I wouldn’t comprehend it anyway.

There are black holes in my house where things vanish, sometimes never to appear again, but sometimes they emerge somewhere else entirely. I’ve lost entire television sets, only to find them again when I tripped over them on my way to the bathroom.

Tools are another subject entirely. Tools come and go as they please, visiting the neighbors and relatives out of state, I believe. Last year, I was terribly annoyed that I had eight 9/16th inch open-end wrenches. A few weeks ago, there wasn’t one to be bought for neither love nor money in my toolbox, but I had 14 half-inch wrenches. I’m sure by July those will be gone and I’ll be awash with 5/8th inch.

Let’s consider dishes. You can never break a plate, loan out a plate, but somehow you end up two short in good time.

Oh, and how is it that a gallon of milk can get lost in an 18-cubic-foot refrigerator and only appear again when its contents have turned to cheese?

The universe is a complex and mysterious thing, to be sure.

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