Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Glove Box

I just bought a new car and the "features and functions" guide is loaded with descriptions of modern doo dads on the "instrument cluster", steering wheel Bluetooth controls, CD/USB/iPOD operation and ports, satellite radio and navigation system, 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, rearview backup camera, airbag indicators and powerheated outside mirrors. I don't have a sunroof, removable third row seats or rear entertainment system...but I have quite enough going on!

Then there's the "Glove Box."

It's 2011. Time for a new name, don'cha think? Maybe the Junk Drawer. I grew up calling it the Glove Compartment but either way, I've never seen nor have I personally stored gloves in that box, or compartment. What came out of the abyss that was the Glove Box when I traded in my old car? CD jewel boxes, maps, handwarmers (close, but not gloves!), flashlight, E-Z Pass, pens, napkins, insurance card, owner's manual, tire gauge, scribbled directions that pre-dated the GPS system, and a bag of change. No ketchup packets...

It seems people who have sporty cars are the ones who wear driving gloves, and that included my mother in the 70's.

I remember her long brown ponytail and big sunglasses. But mostly the caramel-colored-open-knuckle-deerskin-gloved hand holding a cigarette out the window of her Pontiac LeMans convertible. She kept the gloves in her pocketbook, not the Glove Compartment, or the Glove Box. That was for Handi-Wipes and my brothers' Matchbox cars, the owner's manual, some gum and matches.

Thankfully it was never called a Mitten Box. Can you imagine trying to keep control of the steering wheel and changing radio stations wearing mittens?

I was once paid to do an interesting errand: drive a guy's Rolls Royce from Long Island into Queens to have a remote starter installed. He wanted to start the car while he was shaving or having breakfast, so it was warmed up and ready to go. I checked the Glove Box while I was sitting in traffic and thought, if it's really a reflection of the driver, then I'm so utterly ordinary. There was an embossed leather owner's manual, with a $100 bill tucked inside. Mad money, I guess. No gloves, though. They would have come in handy, as an unexpected snowstorm stranded me in Queens overnight and I had to drive that thing through barely plowed roads the next day. Mittens would have been wonderful. But, I digress.

These days, cars have separate storage areas in the dashboard for beverage cups, between the sun visors for sun/eyeglasses, and in the center console for stashing loose change, pens, paper, CD's, the GPS and the EZ Pass out of sight. As trends and technology move us forward at a rapid pace, the old name "Glove Box" has stuck.

Break out the flipcharts and the Sharpie pens, whiteboards and iPads, car people. That space would be great for a mini fridge or a laptop...but let's do something about the name!

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