Our mudroom is basically unheated. Technically, it could be heated; there is a small portable electric heater. These are also referred to as “spontaneous ignition devices” by arson investigators, so I tend to not over-use the thing. I do keep its thermostat set to where it barely keeps water from freezing in the mudroom.
Along with a grand assortment of jackets, coats, boots, shoes, overalls and headgear, I also keep my hat and driving gloves out there. You can imagine how delightful it is to slip on a pair of thirty-five-degree gloves on a really cold morning. I learned that if I put the gloves in the microwave for thirty seconds, they would be comfortably warm. So that’s what I did routinely. Kind of convenient, really, just retrieve the gloves from the meat locker, nuke them for half-a-minute and then be on my happy little way.
I suppose I should have conducted a carefully monitored experiment to assure that my new gloves would respond equally well to the process. Instead, I tossed them in, set the timer and punched the “Start” button. Then I walked over to the sink to rinse a few dishes and get a drink. Somewhere around the twenty-five second mark, I thought I smelled something odd. By the time the microwave timed beeped, I was pretty sure something was getting a bit too hot.
When I opened the microwave door, I saw smoke. Then I saw a pair of small red flames lilting cheerfully from the tips of the index finger of each glove. I grabbed the gloves from the handle end, hastily took them outside and threw them down on the concrete apron. Then I stomped the fire out. Then I went back inside and resumed washing dishes. The absolute picture of calm, cool and collected. Right…
Randa came down the stairs and into the kitchen a few minutes later. I’d accurately predicted how long it would take her to notice the smell. I also accurately predicted the degree to which the story would amuse her. As she looked in through the window on the microwave door, she was convinced the interior walls were blackened with soot, if not actually burnt to a new color. I assured her that was not the case but, having lived in Missouri for many years, she was not convinced until she opened the door and indeed found no evidence of any damage, other than the olfactory fallout.
Such was not the case with the gloves. Turns out, the tip of each index finger had been fitted with some sort of fabric that permits the wearer to use a touch screen device without removing the gloves. I am happy to report that this aspect has been made even more effective now; there is presently nothing at the tip of the index fingers to interfere at all with the operation of any touch screen device. In fact, I can now have my pulse and oxygen levels checked without removing my gloves.
Sometimes, our assumptions ruin a pair of new gloves. Sometimes, they ruin relationships. Sometimes, they kill us. We ought to be careful with them in most all cases. There are some things worse than death.