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One rainy, stormy night during the winter of 1998, I dropped a cheap black knit glove in the parking lot of a 24 hour Super Kmart. I was living in Raleigh at the time, having moved there after college with some friends, and ran to the Kmart at about 7pm that night to pick up some toilet paper. We were having one of those rare winter storms in North Carolina, so the parking lot was an icy mess filled with dark gray puddles and mountains of slush. I didn’t even realize the glove was missing until I got home, and pulled only one out of the pocket of my coat. Now, like I said, these were cheap gloves: they may have cost $4. Maybe. I had only owned them for about a month, so there was no sentimental attachment to them. A normal, sane person would have shrugged their shoulders and been like, “Whatevs, that sucks. I need to buy some new gloves”. Not me. Oh no, not me.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop thinking about that poor glove. Where was it? Was it lying crumpled in the middle of the paper goods aisle, feeling all alone? Did some employee pick it up and toss it into some grimy lost and found cardboard box, or worse, the trash? What if it was in the parking lot? Covered in slush after having been run over by a zillion cars? (Riiight about now you’re probably thinking, “Holy shit. She had mentioned she was crazy… but maybe she really IS crazy. We’re talking CRAZY crazy. She feels sorry for her GLOVE.”)

Yes. You’d be correct. I felt an overwhelming sadness for this insignificant glove’s FEELINGS, and I couldn’t stop obsessing over it. No matter how hard I tried, my mind just would not slow down. I couldn’t sleep, nor could I distract myself with anything else, so after 4 hours of brain chatter I resorted to the only thing I thought possible: I went back to the Super Kmart. It was 3am.

I’ll admit it: as I drove the mile or so through the pouring rain I felt a little freaked out. What the f*ck was I doing? Did I do too many drugs in college? Was that it? Was this the beginning of some descent into madness and I’d soon be living alone, hoarding gnomes and gerbils while obsessively clipping coupons? Was I one step away from touching every light switch I encountered with my right elbow 3 times?*  When I pulled into the parking lot I tried to park in more or less the same spot in order to properly retrace my path. I hopped out of my truck and took no more than five steps when I saw it. Scrunched into a soaking wet ball, matted with gray chunks of slush after it had clearly been run over multiple times: it was my glove! My elation at finding it so it WOULDN’T BE SAD ANYMORE overshadowed the shame I SHOULD have felt when a couple walking to their car saw me pick up some vile glove from the parking lot at 3am, in my pajamas. I didn’t care if I looked batty, though. It was my glove! Yay!

I snuck back into my townhouse without waking my roommates, threw the filthy glove into the wash and slept like a baby.

*Yes, a year and a half later, at age 23, I learned I had a mild case of OCD and an anxiety disorder. No biggie. If I quickly count my cash 4 times in a row at the coffee shop to make sure I’m holding exactly $5 to pay for my scone and iced coffee (like I did a few hours ago): it’s not hurting anyone. Nobody noticed. Nobody other than my husband knows that when I set an alarm, it has to be for a time that ends in 4 (ie: 6:04, 6:14, 6:24, etc.), or my day will suck. Ok, now a *few* more people will know, but I don’t mind. Sure, I might be a liiiitle bit too familiar with the staff of my local emergency room who have seen me for gall stones, blood clots and meningitis (none of which I’ve actually HAD). It’s no big deal. Just a quirk, really. So if you see me at the playground and I seem bitchy and quiet, I’m not! I swear! I’m probably just silently obsessing over whether or not I left the iron plugged in.

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