Friday, December 02, 2005

Take Off the Gloves

Over the last few months - OK, since early summer, really - I've been watching my biking gloves disintegrate. First it was a pinhole in the tip of one finger, then an unraveling seam along the palm. By Halloween, I had two fingers sticking out and a full-fledged blowout along the side of my left hand. Time for new gloves.

Being a bit of a cheapskate, I decided to root around the garage for some other (presumably less tattered) gloves. It wasn't hard to locate them, and they were a bit less the worse for wear than the older ones. But they still weren't pristine.

Now of course these gloves are becoming more disreputable every time I ride - there are the usual fingertip holes developing, and a very bare looking spot on the right palm. Guess I'm going to have to break down and actually buy some new gloves soon, or take another look through my boxes of old bike stuff.

Throughout the course of this Saga of the Gloves, I've been thinking about how ego and identity - the intricate stories I tell myself about my life - are like gloves. They start out so stiff and new, sometimes hard to put on but looking great, and then gradually wear in to become comfortable and like a second skin. Eventually, however, come holes and burst seams. I mend the seams and patch up the holes, and they become a patchwork reflecting my evolving ideas of what I believe about myself.

So why wear the gloves of ego and identity anyway? For protection, of course. There are rocks and thorns of hurt in the world, easily shut out by the new pair, but eventually wearing out the thin material of ego covering my most sensitive parts. I guess that's why the fingertips always wear out first. It's a real dilemma that experiencing the world with sensitivity and feeling can hurt so very much.

These "gloves" I wear are much different now than they were only five years ago, and they are getting pretty worn out. The patches just won't stick, and I'm out of thread to mend the seams. My fingers and palms show through in a lot of places, and before long there won't be anything left but skin.

And that's a good thing.


Post a Comment

<< Home