The cooling sensation of sliced ice-cold cucumbers on the skin leaves a refreshing sensation even on the hottest and most humid days. It does wonders to the skin too! But then, what happens to sliced cucumber after hours of being left in a warm, humid environment? It becomes slimy and squishy, possible gooey.
Now, imagine that slimy, squishy goo in your sock after a long day of work. After walking and grinding the mush against sock and skin, what do you think is left of the sliced cucumber? I wouldn’t know, you’ll have to ask my father.
It was midday and my father had just come home for his lunch break. He worked in a local bank about a kilometre away and would walk home every day for lunch. He also walked to and from work and but those details are not important to this story. Yet.
Anyway, it was midday.
My brother and I eat our lunch before my father comes home. My mother will sit next to my father and eat with him and they will talk about their boring adult day.
Us kids, we had better things to do - like creating havoc whenever possible. The best kinds are always the ones where you don’t get caught. And when you do get caught, it motivates you to become stealthier the next time.
That day, my mother sliced cucumbers for lunch and my father couldn’t finish it. He offered it to us as a snack. That was a mistake, because everyone knows you don’t offer vegetables as snacks to children. Especially the ones who are already full from meal time.
We graciously accepted the cucumbers and my parents went back to talking, ignoring us because we seemed distracted with the cucumbers. Cucumbers are harmless in my parents’ handbook.
My brother and I got bored with it really quickly and we decided to dispose the offensive vegetable without my mother noticing. We grew up in a household where wasting food was an offense punishable by law. But it never stopped us from getting rid of food that sucked.
And then I saw it. It was right under the table.
But first, a little background story:
My father’s standard work outfit for 35 years has always been black slacks with a long sleeve collared shirt. The shirt came in many colours but the pants were always black. He wore black socks, sometimes they had chequered patterns at the top. And then he finished his OOTD with oxford shoes. Everyday.
And there it was, the perfect waste disposal bin: my father’s sock.
Slowly, my brother and I pulled my father’s sock down his ankle and carefully slotted the cucumber slices into the sock. We passed the empty plate back to our mother. My father went back to work and we carried on with our day.
It was until later that evening that we heard the phone ring. It was my father complaining to my mother that he found cucumbers in his socks. He thought he stepped into water and his socks were just wet. But then the socks never dried off.
To this day, I can’t believe we got away with it because cucumbers are wet and cooling to the touch!
I should be worried that my father has no nerve endings on his legs. But then I remember as a kid I also tried to pull his leg hair off one at a time and he yelped at that.
21 years later…
I cannot remember a day when my father has not been going to work. My father would wake up, go to work and come home. The locations may have changed, but the routine remained the same for the past 30 years. It was a routine that I’ve gotten used to.
As a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up, dress up and go to work. It seemed so glamorous to sit in an air-conditioned office all day long. But then when I did get a job, I realised that I couldn’t be more wrong.
Waking up every day and doing the same thing over and over again - the office politics, the traffic, the office rules. It was the worst thing I could fall into. I wasn’t ready to do that yet.
And then I realised how dedicated my father must’ve been to do it for more than 30 years without complaining and whining as much as I did. My father is retiring soon and that’s a whole different adventure waiting to happen. It’s like an end of an era and the feeling is bittersweet.