Practicality, love and gloves: A few thoughts

November 30, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 30, 2017

I used to own a pair of hybrid glove-mittens. When I needed to keep my hands warm, I’d pull on the hybrids and make sure the mittens enveloped my fingers. When I needed to use my digits, I could pull the mitten-pocket away from my fingers and pin it on the back of my hand using Velcro patches. That left me sporting what were essentially fingerless gloves: except for the top inch or so of my eight fingers, my hands were completely covered. It was like having the best of both worlds!

These hybrids weren’t the most stylish item — then again, very very little of what I wear is — but they were incredibly practical. I wish I still had these hybrids, but alas, I lost track of them years ago.

One of the nicest gifts I ever got was given to me by Lady X when we were dating. She took a solo trip to Italy in the fall or winter. (I think this would have been towards the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011.) When she came back, she presented me with a pair of brown leather gloves. They fit quite comfortably and looked great. I was thrilled with them.

Although the gloves fit well, they presented the challenge that’s endemic to most cold-weather gloves: It’s difficult to manipulate anything precisely with my fingers while I’m wearing them. When I’m, say, driving — which is what I think the gloves may have been designed for — that’s not much of a problem. But it’s incredibly awkward to extract a set of keys from my pocket when I have the gloves on. Also, it’s virtually impossible to use a smartphone touch screen after donning this hand-gear.

One chilly, rainy night in the winter or spring of (I think) 2011, after picking up some groceries at a Durham supermarket on Hillsborough Road, I was walking through the parking lot with an ungloved hand so I could pull out my car key. About 10 or 15 minutes later, after I’d driven home and unloaded all my groceries, I noticed that I only had one glove.

I was really upset. It was vicious outside — the temperature was probably around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, if memory serves, and the rain was coming down in buckets. I thought I might have dropped my glove in the parking lot while approaching my car, but I couldn’t be sure. And even if I had dropped the glove right by my parking spot, there was no guarantee that I’d find the missing item. It was all too easy to imagine my orphaned glove having been swept away by the water under a car or into a gutter or somewhere else where it would never be detected.

It was all too easy, in other words, for me to give up on that Italian leather driving glove. Of course, it helped not a whit that Lady X and I had been fighting; I believe we’d had a tempestuous phone conversation that very day, and in fact perhaps that very evening.

Reader, I put my jacket back on and left my dry and cozy home. I drove back to the supermarket and hunted for my former parking spot. I sloshed through the rain and peered at the ground…

And — voilà! I found my wet bedraggled glove lying on the pavement in a newly formed parking-lot stream.

I took the soaked leather glove home and waited for it to dry off. In the end, I’m happy to report, it held up pretty well.

When the weather turns cold and I’m either holding or wearing those gloves, I often think of that night. I’m very glad that I retrieved my orphaned gift glove.

But I have something to confess. Sometimes, I also wish that I had some hybrid mitten-gloves so I could manipulate stuff with my fingers without any risk of losing one of my nice Italian leather gift gloves.

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