The Glovebox

By Gipp Forster

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Every car I have ever owned or seen has always had a glovebox, often called a “glove compartment.” And yet, I’ve never put a pair of gloves in any one of them.

Its original intent, I am sure, was to supply a place for driving gloves, often used in the beginning of the 20th century. However, I think a name change is in order! I don’t know what to change it to, but I believe a change is imperative. I am always nervous of the glovebox (for lack of a better name) in my car. It is a mysterious place, best kept at a distance. Every two years or so, I gather up the courage to go through it, inspect it, even clean it, and each time I shake with trepidation. And I am amazed at some of the contents.

I once found an apple core - snuck in there, I guess, by one of my kids. It had become fossilized (I was tempted to have it bronzed). There was an old stick of gum that disintegrated as I unwrapped it; three screws, one washer, a ballpoint pen without a point, a neatly folded candy wrapper, four books of matches, two receipts with faded dates, an unravelled eight-track tape, a lint-covered Life Saver and a broken pencil. There were other odds and ends as well, but they were just junk. And not one pair of gloves!

Cars once had running boards but the automakers realized their folly, when it was pointed out that you couldn’t run on them; you could only stand on them, so they stopped putting them on cars. But the glovebox is still there, taunting people to discover its hidden treasures.

We misname many things. There is no egg in eggplant, no pine or apple in pineapple. Quicksand takes one down slowly and boxing rings are square. People recite in a play, but play at a recital. We park in driveways and drive on parkways. We say a house is burning up when it is actually burning down. We fill in a form by filling it out. When stars are out they are visible, when lights are out they are invisible. Rush hour is when most traffic is at a standstill.

Running shoes are worn by many who don’t run and loafers worn by many who don’t loaf. And then, of course, there’s the glovebox. I’ve met some people who keep their glovebox immaculately clean with just their car registration resting comfortably there. I try to stay away from such people: they frighten me.

The automobile has come a long, long, long way since Henry Ford’s Model-T. They are so sophisticated now that you almost have to be a rocket scientist to figure them out: computer this and computer that. Some even talk. They make me so nervous with all their bells and whistles that I feel like I should carry a gun to protect myself. But then again, the cars might shoot back. They might have their own gun hidden in the glovebox! Surely, with all of man’s ingenuity, the space the glovebox takes up in a car could be exchanged for something else like a Pez dispenser, a miniature piano or a pop machine.

But if the auto manufacturer is going to insist on still putting a glovebox in 21st century cars, let us at least demand that each car comes equipped with a new pair of gloves!



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