Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Corpse fingers! or, How La Gringa accidentally dyed her hands gray.

Really, I should just be kept away from creative domestic chores, for my own good and the good of civilization.

I have this pair of wonderful black leather gloves lined with cashmere. They are several years old, and soft and broken in and, well, perfect! Last winter, when I was still doing volunteer work every week with Book Stud on the mobile soup kitchen, I wore the gloves all the times. It probably wasn't the wisest move, being as they mobile soup kitchen folks actually provide plastic gloves. But when it is 15 degrees outside and the wind is whipping off the sound down by the Staten Island Ferry and you have a line of really hungry homeless folks waiting to be fed, you sort of grab the first thing that is handy. Like my black gloves.

After a whole winter of handling drippy soup containers and leaky milk cartons, my gloves had begun to develop a distinctive odor. Eau de soup kitchen. Truly, they reeked. So this evening, in a fit of manic cleaning, I had the bright idea to try washing the gloves in a mild cold water soap solution.

Yeah, that was stupid.

As soon as I dipped them in the water, the water turned black. "Wow" (thinks La Gringa) "These bad boys were really dirty." So I push them further into the water and kinda smoosh them down and swirl them around and generally give them a good hand washing as houseguest Hexboy looks on in amusement.

I rinse them. The water is still turning pitch black. Hexboy is still smirking.

It is at this point that it finally dawns on me: Perhaps that black dye wasn't color fast. Ooops. And I see that Hexboy is now laughing. And I lift up my hands to see that they are a shade of deep gray that you only see in the best low-budget zombie flicks.

Oh, dear.

I try squeezing the excess water out of the gloves, and a jet of ink-black water shoots from all five leather fingertips. Hexboy suggests laying them out on a towel to dry. "Just make sure it's a towel that, ya know, you don't actually LIKE." (Every helpful, that one.) I finish squeezing black water out of the gloves, lay them in the bathtub to drain, and then proceed to try to get the dye off my hands.

I try Dawn dishwashing liquid, figuring "Hey, it gets oil off seabirds! It has to work." Well, apparently seabirds have the good sense not to wash black leather gloves. My hands are still deep gray. Next I try Softscrub. No dice. I try a scrubby sponge and really go to town on my fingers. Although I succeeded in removing my own fingerprints, thus facilitating a whole new career in a life of crime, the skin beneath where the fingerprints used to be IS STILL GRAY.

And so I am going to bed now, conceding defeat. My hands are gray. And I have learned that there are just some accessories I shouldn't own.

Thank God I didn't have my heart set on becoming a dominatrix any time soon.

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