Sunday, March 17, 2013

Glove Story: Still Together

You can't get through a winter without gloves. And you need one for each hand.
No winter around here is complete without my dearest losing a glove, often as soon as the cold weather arrives. People follow her around in stores, workplaces, and other institutions waving a tiny, dark cloth or leather garment for the hands and calling "Miss? Is this yours? I think you dropped something."
After several winters of multiple instances of losing one member of that exclusive, two-handed club -- always one, as if some fraternal dispute in the world of gloves has set the left-hand to despise the right, or the right to despise the left (the sort of polarization we've become familiar with in other arenas) by some means too devious for humans to follow -- and almost always one of some brand-new pair that its owner had high hopes of carrying through a successful season of hand-warming amid frequent daily journeys between work, home, visiting, entertainment, and missions of economic stimulation...
And given that my dearest rides the mass transit rail lines to work each day, a procedure so fraught with opportunity for losing one's personal possessions that one cannot help but imagine a special pile-up in some dusty corner of the transit line's lost-and-found labeled "Anne's lost gloves"; where these lost children of winter linger, still limber and quick-fingered, in that special place reserved for lonely hands without a matching fellow, fruitlessly hoping for a mate that never comes...
And though I have no idea of what happens to those un-lost, but now mateless singles, those left behind remainders of divorced pairs...
We sometimes find a glove fallen in the snow or left behind somehow in the middle of mostly cleared roadway, not one of our own gloves, of course, and we do as others do. We place them on fence posts or on top of walls, or over pickets with the fingers raised into the air in full view of a passing public, permitting them to signal silently for the possessor of their better half. Just last month my dearest discovered a single mitten in the middle of our street and placed it carefully on top of the waist-high snow bank that had arisen in front of our house through the eager efforts of the snow plows.
When the snow disappeared, the blue mitten reappeared on top of the curbstone in perfect condition like some oversized pioneer blossom of spring, having survived the winter's snows in perfect condition but, sadly, failing to attract the notice of its negligent owner.
These scenarios are sometimes too tragic to contemplate.
...Therefore, to put an end to the epidemic of glove-loss, my dearest came up with the notion of sewing a long string into the wrist ends of both gloves, and threading one of the gloves up one arm of her coat and out the other. Voila! A kindergarten fail-safe.
Transported this way, her gloves spent the winter being caught in car doors or tangled up inside one sleeve or another and therefore unavailable for duty when needed. They also provoked confusion in hostesses or helpful strangers who exclaimed, warningly, "Look out! Your glove is hanging out of your coat!."
To which my dearest would reply, "Thanks, but it's supposed to. It's the latest fashion."
Certainly, in nursery schools.
But then the thread broke. And it was back to coat pockets and hoping.
Spring broke as well, tentatively enough, and my dearest saluted its arrival with a burst of economic stimulus in the world of retail. "Excuse me, Miss, is this yours?"
Back on the homefront, I decide to inaugurate another year of garden management by picking up the broken branches and raking old leaves off new green shoots. Equipment check: Leaf bags? No. Rakes? Falling apart. Gloves?...
Inside the shed I find a pile of ragged remainders. The soft cloth kind, my favorite, finger tips torn to shreds. Rubber gloves; too tight. Big thick rugged-cloth types good for lifting stone or concrete blocks; much too loose for the finer manipulations of the craft.
All singles in this pile. All left-handers. I have a vague memory of destroying or losing the right-handed ones; or, fearing their loss, concealing them somewhere safe.
Wearing a left-hand garden glove and right-hand winter glove, I approach the earth-clearing task, beginning for some unconscious motivation on a piece of flat ground under the oak tree.
And there they are. My last mated pair, exactly where I left them last fall, looking dazed but unharmed after a relaxing off-season beneath winter's sixty inches of snow.
It's a wonder that they're still together.