Monday, December 12, 2005

Sic Transit

Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that you're a knitter living in a major metropolitan area.

Let's also say that you typically spend 90 minutes each week day commuting on the city's public transit system.

Ninety minutes per day, five days each week adds up to 450 minutes. Seven-and-a-half hours.

Some things a person could do in a week, spending that amount of time on a subway train:
  1. Burn 4,590 calories by jogging in place.
  2. Read The Da Vinci Codes from start to finish twice.
  3. Brush up on the Latin subjunctive.
  4. Write seven long or 14 short letters to Grandma.
  5. Learn basic Spanish from bilingual posters for train safety, international long distance, Target, and public service announcements.
What the knitter in question will do instead, faced with a deadline-driven project that involves creating a heavy, solid garter-stitch rectangle measuring 54 inches by 46 inches, using worsted-weight yarn and a size 7 needle:
  1. Knit.
Here are good things about knitting a gigantic woolen rectangle while transitting publicly:
  1. If the heat in the train car ceases to function, the project will keep your legs warm.
  2. You will be a source of amusement to other passengers, who will often ask you friendly questions and wish you well.
  3. You will not have to read The Da Vinci Codes.
Here are less fortunate things about knitting a gigantic woolen rectangle en train.
  1. A gust of wind in mid-stitch may send your ball of yarn flying down the platform, requiring that you chase after it.
  2. While pursuing the errant wool, your knitting bag (which now weighs as much as a small hippo) may knock a fellow commuter flat on her caboose.
  3. You may then miss the incoming train.
  4. Having caught the next train, you may be spotted by an enthusiastic member of the Nation of Islam (dude–cute bow tie), who will decide you are the perfect subject for an impromptu sermonette on the evils of homosexuality and the proper roles of men and women.*
  5. As you exit the train, your tape measure may get caught in the door, leaving you no choice but to wave goodbye as it continues north without you.
And finally:
6. All this may happen on the same @$%#! morning.
Happy Monday.

*Second time this has happened. Second.

26 comments:

ted said...

I think it was Leigh Witchell who had the ball of yarn he was working with bounce out of his project bag, and roll out the open subway car door a nanosecond before the door slammed shut. He broke the yarn, as he could imagine his project being mangled against the door when the train left the station.

In Scandinavia, the knitters had hooks that they used to attach the ball of yarn to their clothes. I think it was part of the woman's traditional costume in one or more of the provinces. I think it's a great idea. Next Christmas, okay?

No advice for dealing with the Nation of Islam guys. Sorry.

June said...

Sorry, Frank, but I got your commute beat by a bit. I am on the road about 2:40 each day. (Fortunately, I am only driving for about 40 min. of that.) Good knitting time, though I admit I try not to carry the big projects with me.

Cheryl said...

Oh my gosh, you can't possibly be serious. Those NOI guys aren't even really muslims, it's just some sect they thought up.... Hope you have a better day tomorrow.

Carlarey said...

And here I was feeling ambitious for planning to start knitting a gift on the train in Colorado and delivering it when the train stops in Albequerque 8 hours later. Probably won't get a sermon though, since I'm of the generally accepted knitting gender, and NOI members are pretty thin on the ground in that part of the country.

Yvonne said...

Oh Franklin...I have a feeling that your mailbox will be full of tape measures soon...Maybe you should tell the NOI guy that you'd rather not be subjected to the horrors of heterosexuality -- i.e., reproduction...(just kidding...I have two kids and they are not horrors...although my stepchildren are another story...)

Glee Club said...

What is it with you and the Church of Islam? I swear.

Sean said...

Thanks for the chuckle at your expense. I'm so intrigued by this Ruana...I may just have to jump in and knit one!

I was going to suggest multiple projects that accomodate the commute, but I realize the time constraints you're under!

And finally why does anyone feel the need to instruct anyone else on how to live his life? THAT, my friend is the problem with the world today. Too many people in other peoples biz.

Good luck finishing the Ruana!

by the way, my word verification is cuxscm...I could get offended?? LOL

Carol said...

You probably look like the kind of guy who'd like to get it on with a man in a bow tie.

Gail said...

I had to stop knitting with straight metal needles on the Metra because I'd fall asleep midstitch, drop the needle, and wake up the entire car with the clattering. Multiple times in a trip.

I never did try to knit on the el - most days, I was lucky to get a seat on the Red Line at Lawrence, and certainly never had a seat on the Brown line.

Helen said...

I feel your pain.
I'm also insanely jealous. I so miss my commuting knitting time.
I knit an entire child size dress on size 2's on the train (Dale pattern, modified up..)
Now, I mourn my commuting time - I have to DRIVE those 8 miles every morning, and DRIVE them again on the way home.
When the road is empty, and I'm all alone on it, it's really hard not to grab the knitting to test my ability to knit while driving with my knee....

OTOH .. no one tries to preach to me about the role of the sexes.

Laura A. said...

I think this is why so many knitters stick to socks while commuting. You do have to be careful about resisting the urge to stab annoying people through the eye with those small, pointy needles.

Celtic Knitter said...

I still haven't got enough guts to knit on the subway yet . . . but I was thinking of crocheting instead. You can't poke anyone with needles that way.

That muslim guy really said that?!? The muslims that I work with here in Toronto never say anything like that.

Kathleen said...

Franklin, you have made the quarter-hour wait in the middle of the subway tunnel while a medical emergency four stops ahead was dealt with in record slowness seem not-so-bad. After all, I had my knitting.

I'm so sorry about your Monday. I hope your week picks up.

Yvonne said...

it's me again...did I miss something? Why is the lace sampler getting frogged? It wasn't the guy who wanted the jock strap, was it??

dragon knitter said...

holy shit, franklin! what a morning! and yes, those nation of islam dudes are annoying (about like jehovah's witnesses who come knocking at your door!)

btw, i finally got to hear your piece on cast on, and you sound exactly like you do in my head. that was a wonderful piece. bobbles, indeed!

Aidan - Hyde Park said...

I'm a nice Jewish boy, respectful and polite. I was walking down Michigan Avenue with my boss one day when a young man approached me and asked, "Can I talk to you a minute about Jesus?" I couldn't think of what else to say, so I responded, "Sure, what do you want to know?" This threw the man off his game, and he was so flustered, if I had tried a little bit, I think I could have converted him.

I have seen, I believe on KnitPicks.com, little project bags that hold little more than a skein of yarn and a cable needle -- they hand from the wrist.

What would you think about organizing a knit-in for male knitters in Chicago? I think we could have a lot of fun. (I think that in college this is where I offered to make a mix tape!)

Juno said...

Oh dear.

Maybe one of those little bags that hold the yarn and clip to your bag/arm/belt? Not stylish, but secure.

Wish there was a solution as simple for the proselytizers.

stephanie said...

You are leading my life. (Except my resident religious maniac speaks to me about my lack of proper clothing and loud voice. I do not attempt to demure.)
It's good that you're doing this, maybe the planet will leave off of me while I get my deadline driven large woollen squares done on the subway.

Lee Ann said...

My resident religious maniac regularly tells me I'd better go spend some time in church because I look like a sinner.

I regularly reply that I'll take that as a compliment. ;-)

Three pairs of felted slippers and a hooded scarf in a week and a half. Think I can do it?

Oh, man, I love this word verification...it's what I'll be saying on the night of the 22nd when I'm knitting like crazy and the deadline is nigh..."yzwzwz" ;-)

Jon said...

OK, here's a question not related to balls bouncing or religious freakoids. Are you double stranding the Jo Sharp? Otherwise, poodle, {and I HATE to contradict the great and wish Franklin (snort!)} you are knitting DK.

Now back to religious freakoids, when I lived in the city, JWs would walk by and offer me their rag while I was waiting for the bus in the morning. I would always tell them to get a life. And for some reason, they would look shocked! Can you imagine?!?

Bawahahahahahaha

David said...

I am totally stealing Aiden from Hyde Park's rejoinder to evangelists. That is sheer brilliance.

My word was grkdha, the noise I make when I can't find the right key on the key ring in the freezing cold.

birdfarm said...

Clarification for Celtic Knitter:

Franklin is not referring to Muslims--the 1.4 billion people in the world who believe that Mohammed was the last & greatest prophet of God--most of whom don't try to convert you unless you wander into a mosque and ask a lot of interested questions.

Franklin's accoster is from the Nation of Islam, a group of about 50,000 people in the U.S., who believe that God visited earth in 1930 incarnated in the person of a man named W. D. Fard, and that Fard's most prominent follower, Elijah Mohammed, is not dead but actually flying around in a UFO somewhere. Malcolm X (Shabazz), the most well-known NOI member, repudiated NOI and became a "real" Muslim after making his pilgrimage to Mecca. Check out the Wikipedia article on NOI for more info.

Franklin: I love, love, love your title.

Much better than the hideous joke on the same theme made by Sydney's rival Betsy Gilhooley in "Dykes to Watch Out For": "Sic transit gloria Tuesday."

Anyway, this does sound like a horrible commute and you have my full sympathy.

I once saw a person get their backpack caught inside the subway doors while their body was outside. Wearing the backpack.

The train started to leave, and the person was screaming and running sideways/backwards, and everyone on the platform was shouting "STOP! STOP!" Fortunately this made some impression on the driver, so the train was stopped and disaster was averted, just as the person lost their footing and was about to start being dragged.

All I'm saying is, it could be worse.

xoxo

goblinbox said...

I think it would be neat if people would start lecturing ME on the evils of homosexuality. I'd love it! (Of course, I invite those crazy Xians in for tea when they knock on my door, and seat them so they have to look right at my Hindu icons.)

Bonnie said...

At least you weren't bored.

:-)

Yarn Cat said...

You won't believe but I feel at home reading your blog.
I thought I am the only one got shit happens all the time!
And here is the similar scenerio, I got approach by the anti-communist Chinese group approach me all the time and ask me to sign a form to quit the party. I am ethnically Chinese, but am not from China and have never joined any party! (ok, I did join the school parties back in the college and fiestas in Spain).

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