Slip of the Truly Eccentric
For a few days now, I’ve had recumbent memories come alive as hopes for the future.
The first was while reading a book. The sun was setting, and even though my lower half was wrapped in an afghan, which is customary through most of the year while reading, and I had long sleeves on, my hands were cold. This doesn’t happen when I’m indoors, and thus I keep all my outdoor gloves in the pockets of my coats. Plus, I didn’t think of any of those pairs of gloves. For some reason, I thought of a pair of dress-up gloves that I’ve owned for quite some time that are, naturally, buried somewhere in my dress-up box, waiting for posterity.
Of course, just because they’re waiting doesn’t mean I can’t wear them while reading. So I put down my book and when digging for them. I found a few things that brought back memories and other things that look like perfect additions to a dress-up box. I also found those gloves, not exactly where I thought they’d be, but exactly as I’d remembered them.
I admired them as I continued to read. They still fit exactly the way they always have: well in the hand, but too long and fat in the fingers. They’re white with a dainty yet simple white flower stitching at the wrist. They are well-made by a craftsman whose job is probably taken over by the mechanical assembly line. There are plenty of details in the fingers, and the cloth is breathable and softly summery. They look like Easter gloves to go with an Easter hat to church. They fold neatly when gripped by thin fingers, as to soon go into a pocket or a small purse, with no creases are left when they unfold.
They are magic gloves, but I want them to belong to someone who fits them better than I. These beautiful things deserve to be on hands that fit like a glove. I am reminded instantly of my best friend during our teenage years. I can imagine her hands against mine in joyful comparison; the palms fit but her fingers are longer. The simple embroidery reminds me of the things she preferred; small flowers, small leaves and vines, calico. Her birthday was last week, and I’m going to visit her this weekend; I’m sure she’s on my mind because of the upcoming trip.
Still, I can imagine her putting on these gloves. I think of her delight when she handles them this weekend after I give them to her as a gift. For some reason, they’re too tight in the palm even though the fingers fit. They’re also a little too short in the wrist. I’m a little confused; how do I know what the outcome will be? The only explanation is that I gave these to her when I saw her every week and had her try them on. It’s a half-memory, but how else would I know how they fit her hands? It’s not like I have a hand fetish.
And the same thing happened today. I was thinking of the book I’m reading and of the ideas that are included within the text; how those ideas flow so smoothly with concepts of art, philosophy, religion. And I thought of my philosophy professor. It turned out I stank at working through the mental discipline philosophy requires. The actual discipline is a lot like math, and is, in fact, handled in this book as “classical thought”. The only reason I passed the class was because I spent every Friday afternoon in our professor’s office, working through the ideas and arguments verbally, having him explain and re-word concepts I didn’t understand. For several hours every week, I sat there in his office working through a mental puzzle, and like many offices on-campus, his was filled with books.
I thought I ought to send him a copy of this book. I could imagine it on his shelf. No, I could imagine it sitting in a particular spot on his desk. I remember picking it up and being surprised that a book with motorcycles and zen is in a philosophy professor’s office. But no, he assured me as I sat in the cushy chair in his office, it covered very thoroughly the major concepts of philosophy. I remember I called him Fitz; I remember thinking he was hot, even with his long hair. It definitely wasn’t unpleasant, talking with him for all those hours.
Thoughts slip unknowingly into memory. Only the specific images tell me that they are memory.