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smell the glove

January 14, 2023

What you seek is seeking you. 



I’m not out there rolling around looking for a new pair of gloves, they just seem to find me. Yesterday I ground-scored my newest new-to-me pair of Showers Pass gloves A while back I found a pair of Showers Pass pilgrim buckle gloves that were a bit small for me and I passed them on to my old lady. But they inspired me to buy my own pair in a larger size. Those are the gloves I wear at work on coldish days.  For commuting these past couple winters I’ve been wearing a pair of off-brand gloves I found on the train one day. On really cold days I wear some real tree camo Cabela’s gloves I found on Walla Walla Road behind the IMA. Back back way back in the day, I found a pair of Isotoner gloves at One Union Square and wore them through several bike messenger winters.  


Some of you may be thinking how gross it is to pick up a pair of gloves and start wearing them as your very own. But I’m a smart shopper and gloves are washable. Let me remind you that I rode public transportation every single day of a global pandemic. As a mail carrier I touch every door knob, handle, lock, mail cabinet and elevator button there is to touch in the 98195.  I did the same as a bike messenger all over the core. It cracks me up to see germaphobes try to open doors with their backpack straps or push elevator buttons with a folded napkin. Sometimes I see them just wait helplessly until someone comes along and exits the door they want to enter, so they don’t have to touch it. 


I draw the line on some groundscore items. I won’t touch hats or clothing item unless it’s a Grinnell Griffins Rugby t-shirt. Single gloves are sad in a lost puppy way like a twin separated at birth, and I don’t pick them up unless it’s to create a shrine and place them conspicuously on a stuck stick for their people to see them the next time around. 


Gloves are overrated. Why should I put on gloves, only to take them off again? I’ll get a little chilly to avoid a hassle. Why should I climb that hill, only to roll back down it?  I can’t scan barcodes on packages and type in POD destination codes on a janky iphone with a big fat pair of gloves on, so I’d rather leave them off.  If I have to ride all the way to Warren G Magnuson Park in the winter, I’ll put on some gloves. But riding an electric-assist bathtub from Schmitz Hall to the mothership – 0.6 miles – when it’s 53 degrees and raining? no gloves needed. 


Once upon a time I worked in a carbon fiber wheel bakery near Fremont and I had to wear at least one pair of gloves at all times, sometimes nitrile beneath another pair or two of protective gloves with a Dremel tool in hand. When that gig ended I had more than a strong aversion to disposable gloves, as well as respirators and safety goggles.  I went on to wrench on bikes and I was happy to get my hands dirty, as I still am. Fuck rubber gloves. Seeing coworkers place their skanky used gloves on the table, as if they’re going to use them again makes me cringe more than a used condom on the train platform or a KN95 used as an asswipe on the elevator ala David Sedaris. Throw that shit away please. 


I am grossed out by used disposable gloves sitting around. But I won’t hesitate to adopt a gently used pair of winter cycling gloves. Here and now 67% of my winter gloves are ground scores and I’ve got enough to get through a few more winters. 


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