Winter Adds an Extra Layer

The question seemed friendly enough, but it bit like the wind outside.

“Ma’am,” asked the serious young man at the downstairs coffee bar, “did you leave your gloves here yesterday?”

He wasn’t asking everyone, I noticed. Only the chief suspects. The ones who vacantly pay for their coffee, only to leave it sitting on the counter. The ones who have to commandeer an entire table for their coats and briefcases and purses while they fish for the money.

He’s clearly figured out what I have long known. For the already distracted and organizationally impaired, winter adds an impossible layer.

It was hard enough a month or so ago to keep track of cell phones and pagers and security passes and electronic organizers and sunglasses and reading glasses. Now come a coat and a hat and two gloves, and on at least one day a year (it is usually lost on the first cold day of the season), a scarf.

But gloves are the worst. They pose a philosophical dilemma. Is it better to believe the best about ourselves and buy a nice, well-fitting pair to be cherished and watched as carefully as children? Or should we invest in three identical, one-size-fits-all pairs from the grocery store carousel because we know in advance that in approximately three-quarters of an hour one of them — a left or a right — will be lying abandoned on some parking lot like a crumpled candy wrapper.

This year, with an enormous collection of one-size-fits-all, right-handed, navy blue gloves in the foyer closet, I’ve decided it’s time to focus. I’ve decided to spring for the good pair and try to visualize myself into a new state of “together.”

In a new show of discipline, I’m going for the elegant, plain-coat look. Something svelte in camel or herringbone with tailored inset pockets, a single glove tucked discreetly in each one, right in right, left in left, both actually matching and pulled out neatly at the moment of departure.

This new image will not be easy to achieve, and given my history, I am already feeling discouraged. I suspect there’s a high correlation between people who keep track of their gloves and those who always have their in-store coupons handy and know where all of their shoes are. These folks have a certain “in the moment” quality, actually focusing on the here and now instead of leapfrogging miles ahead and wondering whether getting a smallpox vaccination would kill them if they were already infected with anthrax.

But back to the original question. No, I did not leave my gloves in the coffee bar. Someone else must have walked off and left the hunter green leather beauties by the cappuccino machine.

Mine are right … uh … probably under the umbrella that I think I left at the orthodontist’s office last week.

Copyright Pat Snyder 2002

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend