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Saturday, March 15, 2008

A couple reunited after a breakup

By Dick Hirsch

It’s always painful when relationships are disrupted and couples break up, each going off in a different direction. It is never easy to consider the subject, but now is an appropriate time because this is the season when such rifts occur with the greatest frequency. There definitely is a seasonal aspect to such incidents.

Anecdotal evidence will have to suffice since no official records are available. However, the facts seem clear:

More pairs of gloves are permanently split during the winter months in the northeast than at any other time. Such losses raise questions that are not easily answered. Why didn’t they remain together? What is the future of those gloves whose relationship with their partner has been ruptured? Can they lead a productive life as a single glove?

Yes, it certainly seems it is always just one glove that unexpectedly strays, embarking on a solitary life. Gloves are rarely lost in pairs. If they were, it wouldn’t be much of an issue.

But what happens to those single gloves? Do they have a future? If they are found in a parking lot or inside a theater, are they of any use to the finder? If noticed, will they be turned over to the authorities in the vain hope that through some magical good fortune they may be happily reunited with with their mate?

In the old days, when men wore rubbers or overshoes during the winter, it wasn’t unusual to see a single boot or rubber laying in the road when spring came. The setting was usually a busy city street, not a rural area. How could they possibly have gotten there? They were usually so snug fitting they were not likely to just slip off without being noticed by the wearer. Did anyone ever pick up a lonely galosh from the curbside and invoke that old “finders, keepers” policy? I doubt it. A single rubber or boot was certain to be ignored and eventually trashed, as was its twin, wherever that survivor may have been.

Gloves are different. The owners develop a dependence on and an affection for their gloves. So why don’t they safeguard them? That’s a difficult question to answer with any certainty. That is especially true in my case since I have just lost one of a pair. This pair has had a particularly tumultuous relationship: this was the third time one disassociated itself from the other. The first breakup occurred during the winter of 2007, when the right glove vanished early in the morning. The pair was intact when I left the house, although in the pockets, not on the hands. I made two stops on the way to the office, then hung up my coat without checking the whereabouts of the gloves. There was no need to check, was there? I had not worn them.

Yet when I left for lunch, the right glove was missing. Gone. Vanished. I launched an immediate investigation, retracing my steps and by mid-afternoon had located and reclaimed the glove, thus reuniting the pair. It had fallen from my pocket at the coffee shop. Naturally, I was delighted with the reunion, and the pair spent the off season vacationing together in the hall closet and were intact for winter 2008.

As this season began, I had forgotten that episode until it happened again. I was shocked to dig into my pocket one afternoon as I left for home and could not find the glove. I looked in all the obvious places, spent a few days lamenting the loss and my carelessness, when I suddenly asked myself: “Could I have dropped it in the parking lot at the dentist’s office?” I called, not expecting success, but, to my surprise, a patient having a root canal repaired had found it and turned it over to the dentist, where the hygienists were wondering whether it would ever be claimed. They were glad to see me.

I wore the pair without incident through some of the coldest days, deriving considerable comfort from them, but as March approached, the left one disappeared. This time, more than before, I blamed myself, cursing my carelessness. For a moment, I considered forgetting the glove and buying a new pair (on sale at this season), since this was clearly a jinxed couple. But I knew the breakup must have taken place as I left a theater, so when I checked the following day and described the glove, they had found it on the floor in the lobby. The pair has been reunited and, while the future is uncertain, the warm relationship has been renewed.



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