Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Blended Fibers

My weightlifting regimen has a nutritional component that includes a schedule of six little meals a day instead of three larger. I was skeptical of the plan at first, but have found that I'm not only looking better but feeling better.

The second meal of the day is a bowl of organic oatmeal with plain yogurt at about 10 a.m. Nothing could be simpler, of course. I just whip it up in the office microwave and eat it at my desk.

This requires a supply of oatmeal on hand at the office, so yesterday I stowed a new, sealed cannister in my messenger bag along with the rest of my daily necessities: phone, iPod, sketchbook, pens, The Man of Property, and the christening shawl.

I was late in leaving the house. I knew that unless I picked up the pace, I'd miss my train. I ran three blocks, into the station, through the turnstile, and up the stairs to the platform. I caught the train with mere seconds to spare, and collapsed on an empty seat.

My jangled brain took a stop-and-a-half to refocus. Finally, I remembered that I need spend my commute time knitting in order to keep the shawl on schedule. I reached into my bag, unaware that my impromptu 400 meter dash had caused the contents to blend.

I whipped the shawl out, gave it a good snap to settle the stitches, and POOF...oatmeal flakes. In profusion. Everywhere. Up to the ceiling of the car, across the aisle, into the hair of those sitting around me. As though Quaker had set off a dirty bomb on the CTA.

What does one say in this situation? Nowhere, in any of my etiquette books, is there a suggestion about what to do when one's lace knitting covers one's fellow passengers with oatmeal. Even Emily Post, who dwelt at length on such vital matters as coping without your personal maid while camping, is mum on this topic.

I'm afraid the best I could muster was a feeble apology, which was graciously accepted by everybody-except the fellow who slept through the whole thing.

I can only imagine what he must have thought when he woke up to find himself dusted with oats.

71 comments:

no-blog-rachel said...

First, I'm glad it was oatmeal and not something that ruined the yarn and second, I hope the rest of the day went better for you!

sara 14 said...

Is the shawl Ok? No random flakes stuck in the laciness of it?
And by the way, isn't it about time we got to see more shawl pictures??

Mel said...

I think I would have turned about ten shades of red. At least.

But at least the shawl is okay, which is all that counts in the end.

Oh, and go for steel cut oats instead of the rolled. So much nicer, though not as easy to microwave, I wouldn't think.

Siercia said...

oh my goodness!

How terribly embarrassing!

And very, very funny.

I hope the shawl is OK.

miss ewe said...

I believe the phrase you're looking for is: Ta-daaaaaaah!

Ditzy Cadet said...

remind me to not sit next to you on the train

Marcy said...

Hmm. So the shawl will not only warm little Abigail, but lower her cholesterol as well. Good deal!

Cherice said...

At least it was something that can be dusted off. I doused a stranger with a big glass of water once. She was very gracious, but years later it still makes me cringe.

And if you soak the steel cut oats overnight they should microwave nicely (I soak bulgur overnight and nuke it with a few raisins and cinnamon).

Judy said...

At the start of this story, I was VERY afraid that you were going to say that you lost the shawl. anything else is peanuts (er oats).

Bonnita said...

I love the Forsyte Saga! Sorry about the oatmeal though, better dry than wet.

TheWoolgatherer said...

Like Judy, I was afraid something happened to the shawl - so glad, well, in relative terms, that it was oatmeal. And so hysterical! Ahem.

Senora Fuerte said...

I'm not sure the passengers would have appreciated it, but I'm sure I would have laughed histerically. When I see things like that in a movie, I always think cynically, "That would never happen in real life!" Which only means that when things like that do happen in real life, I find it so amazingly awesome.

Anonymous said...

What does one say in this situation?...

My suggestion...
Singing the following at the top of your voice...

"It's raining oatmeal! Hallelujah!
It's raining oatmeal! Amen!"

MonicaPDX said...

Oh man, I would've been attempting to crawl under the seat! [g]

Just hope the oatmeal also shakes out of the shawl. On the other hand, oatmeal baths are supposed to be good for the skin... Maybe you're ahead of the next trend for yarn? Now it's aloe and jojoba, next will be soothing oatmeal!

marie in florida said...

i thought i knew what was comming, but i'm glad i was wrong. i'm SO happy the flakes were dry. had it been me, i'm afraid i would have laughed my azz off, but i got to do that anyway.

David said...

Perhaps he thought "what a healthy snack I've become!"

Angie said...

Hopefully this made people laugh (as it did me) and give them something amusing to think about through out the day. I am glad there were no rude comments as there have been in the past. Maybe this is a good omen?

takawolffie said...

oh dear, Franklin! I am sorry it happened but thank you for sharing that very very funny story.

Sean said...

sowing your oats on the train now, Franklin??

Too, too funny. Thanks for the chuckle.

Me, I'm dealing with a leaking air conditioner — on all days when it's 95. Ahh well.

Heather Madrone said...

I suspect the oats were engaging in a nonviolent protest of the practice of christening infants. They were sharing their plain and simple view by throwing their oatly bodies in the path of the shawl. They knew their witness would be in vain, but they had nothing to lose. You were just going to eat them anyway.

One of the downsides of being a Quaker is that I will probably never get to knit a christening shawl for a grandchild. I'll have to scratch my lace-knitting itch in practical items like shawls and socks.

mary e said...

Allow me to chime in with the rest of the group - thank goodness nothing happened to the shawl. I read your post with heart in throat thinking that during your dash to the train the shawl was lost, snagged, dropped, dragged (not that you wouldn't have noticed something like that happening, but the first few seconds of contact between that gorgeous shawl and let's say oh a sharp pointy piece of metal; or grimy concrete... eek. I'm glad the oatmeal was easily fluffed out - and that your co-commuters were gracious about it. Yay!! it could have been worse, and it wasn't. And thanks for the good idea for tweaking my diet as well- why hadn't i thought of adding yogurt to microwaved oatmeal to add flavor rather than the yucky over-flavored instant stuff that's sold.... thanks Franklin! :)

Lynne E. said...

Thanks for a great laugh to start the day!

Eldronius said...

Oh, my! That is is great (awful, funny, not sure.)

And I have to agree that at least it seems the shawl was not harmed. That was the very reason I spit out my gum before I entered your apartment last week. The last thing I needed was to destroy that beautiful thing.

And in the end you gave everyone around you a nice story to tell for the day, heck even years to come. "Remember that day someone on the train exploded oatmeal in my hair? It took me three weeks to find all the places those little buggers hid in my hair/body."

YTT said...

Just think how lucky you are - someone might have called the cops and reported a cereal killer on the subway.

Amber in Albuquerque said...

Oh my! And I thought I was having a bad day...at least yours has a humorous side. If mine does, I haven't found it yet. I think a baby picture might cheer me up!

AuntyNin said...

Thank heaven the shawl wasn't damaged! However, your description of the mishap left me laughing so hard my colleagues thought I was having a seizure.

Thanks for the great giggle!

Miss T said...

Hilarious!

April said...

Franklin, you made my day. Thank you for being you.

SJ said...

Could have been worse -- the oatmeal could have been cooked! (Plus, I suspect worse things have been seen on the train!)

Cheesehead With Sticks said...

Oh my! That is something that would happen to me. Thanks for sharing - I needed the laugh today.

I certainly would have like to be a fly on the wall when the guy woke up covered in oatmeal.

Catherine said...

Having spent a lot of time on commuter rail and subways, I've had lots worse than oatmeal showered on me. Your fellow passengers were probably delighted to have gotten a good story to share instead of the usual drycleaning bills!

Pink said...

OMG! It could have been so much worse...and wet!

At least you made sure everybody on the train started their day by getting their oats...

sarah said...

I think I would have burst out laughing. What else is really an appropriate response to such a ridiculous event? Then maybe other people will laugh too. That makes it less likely that someone will be pissed.

It reminds me of when I was knitting standing up on a very crowded subway car and (unbeknownst to me) my yarn rolled down and around a few people's feet. It took a little group effort to get everyone untangled. I'm sure people were not pleased but I was laughing.

deirdre said...

Gives a whole new meaning to 'sowing one's wild oats', doesn't it?

Glad the oats were dry and the shawl is fine...

Abby Franquemont said...

Let's be honest here: scarier, more upsetting things have happened on the CTA. At least, they used to back when I rode it.

knottykitty said...

LOL! At least oats are dry and CLEAN! (not like so many of the things one can encounter on public transit...) :)

Jen said...

lol! I can see the whole scene in my head, flakes gracefully drifting down to settle on passengers...

Hey Franklin, could you give me a shout out in your next post for the Jimmy Beans Wool pattern? I love getting traffic from your blog, and I love knowing someone famous like you! ;)

Lynae said...

Yeah, I got puked on one day on the purple line. UGH!

I went home and called in puked on. I was darn well going to use that excuse. My boss laughed and said I deserved a "mental" day.

Judi said...

I don't often get a belly laugh our of reading blogs, but this one has made my day!

Shelda said...

Oh, lord! I'm laughing so hard I almost fell off my chair. Ah... goodness. Thanks, I needed that in the worst way!

It might have been dreadfully humiliating, but it makes a hell of a story.

Alwen said...

Dang it, everybody already made all the "sowing wild oats" comments.

Will I be drummed out of Panopticon-land if I use the word "ditto"?

wrtrmaus said...

Hee! Thanks, I had a feeling that was where you were headed.

lizbon said...

That is what we call a wholesome summer shower.

caitlin said...

i was going to tell the story of the woman who's lunch dripped on the man standing next to me. and she kept moving it, trying to get it out of the way, but only succeeded in getting more on him...

but then i read the puking story and figured i had nothing more to offer.

anno said...

rofl! Ok.. I don't feel so bad about runnin' out of yarn before I ran out of sock now.. thanks. :)

phoenix said...

This'll teach me to wait to comment until all the easy oat cliches are taken. You did make me laugh out loud, and as much as LOL is the bane of my online existence, this time I actually did.

Kate said...

Rest assured that being showered by oats would have been more arresting than the novel sight of a fella knitting a lace christening shawl. You probably made their day : )
Did you watch the new BBC series of the Forsyte Saga?

--Deb said...

(chortle)

Riin said...

Now, Franklin, I'm sure you're just not looking hard enough. I'm sure that this situation must be covered in an etiquette book somewhere!

Karen said...

Your fiber was just spreading the... well... fiber! ;-)

Is your shawl OK? (The people will recover, I'm sure!)

Angela said...

Hmmm...sowing the wild oats, perhaps? (Or at least the organic ones.)

Nanna Peter said...

We want pix of Mr Fabulous, after 6 little meals a day. The Man of Property - you have done better than me. I just couldn't enjoy Galsworthy that much. You might be interested to know that that type of family saga was *incredibly* popular during the early 20th Century

jarubaknits said...

That reminds me of the time I was eating breakfast at a hotel during a trip to England. I was struggling to open the plastic bag in one of those one-portion boxes of cereal, in this case muesli. I tugged so much that the bag burst open and sprayed muesli dust all over me, the table, the floor and several people at a nearby table. My face was covered with muesli dust and my brown hair white. All I could do was mumble an apology to the shocked patrons nearby and to the staff who rushed over with a carpet sweeper before dissolving into fits of giggles.
I feel your pain!

calamity rach said...

You know, if I had been one of the passengers, I would have started laughing my ass off about being covered in oatmeal. I would have talked about it all day.

Scattered Gemini said...

Oh my goodness, what a visual! LOL!

Kristen said...

Oh my god. Oh. My. God. I think I herniated something laughing. (After I realized no one and no shawl would be harmed by flying oats. And trust me, I've done enough really embarrassing things in public to appreciate the cringey parts of your story.)

Anonymous, too said...

Wait a minute. Oatmeal plus part of a sheep? Isn't that the recipe for haggis?!?

jessie said...

It could have been worse. It could have been the yogurt.

Bells said...

oh i laughed and laughed. I'm sorry Franklin. How could I not?

It was a sympathetic laugh, though.

If it's any consolation, my soup went all over my lap as the lid came off in my backpack this week. I sat on the bus, sat my pack on my lap, felt wet, and realised the worst.

I can only be grateful I didn't spray soup throughout the bus. Or get it on my knitting.

Sarah R said...

At a loss for words when you strew oatmeal on the train:

You say, "Wheat the hell? What a millet head I am! I'm barley able to look you all in the eyes. Sow, sow sorry! 'Meal culpa, 'meal culpa."

I like my oatmeal with a few teaspoons of green salsa stirred in. (Is everyone gagging now?)

And if you like Galsworthy, you might like Hugh Walpole, too.

Thanks for the laugh.

KnitNana said...

OMG. Red-faced does not begin to convey how I'd feel in such a situation...(how embarrassing!)

I presume you had something keeping the stitches ON the needles (point protectors?) - protect the shawl at ALL costs!

And just how long did it take you to come up with that title???

ROFLOL
Thank you. I needed a good laugh this a.m. Really really needed one.

Poor sleeping commuter!
(((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

I think Trader Joe's has microwavable steel cut oats. No oat dust with them, just clattering.

rosesmama, stovetop steelcut oat eater

FiberQat said...

Thank you for the guffaw this morning. The thought of the sleeping guy waking to find himself sprinkled with oatmeal flakes had me snorfling uncontrollably. Oatmeal would be the ideal Quaker dirty bomb.

The shawl corner looks gorgeous. I look forward to seeing the whole thing.

firefly said...

As someone whose toast always, but always, lands peanut butter side down in a big dust bunny, I'm so glad to hear the oats were dry!

I would have laughed first and apologized later, after briefly considering whether to say, "It's part of my magic act!"

Diane said...

OMG snort laugh!

Jenny said...

Franklin are you doing Body-for-Life? I did that for a bit and it does the 6 meals, "your body is a machine-feed it the best fuel possible " sort of thing... but oatmeal and yougart? That's two carbs, how many proteins are you getting? Just curious :)
Jenny-(That made YOUR baby democrat sweater, sitting happily waiting for the gift reveal in September :)

Sarah said...

At least it was uncooked!

Annash said...

That's some luxurious fibers you have in the mornings.

I wonder how silk would go with my rice crispies...

FugueStateKnits said...

I think oatmeal makes lovely fairy dust! (sorry, really really sorry about that... but it's late and it's the best i could do. please say you're laughing at this and not mad.....)
Joan a/k/a FSK

Brown Berry said...

Rarely do I find myself actually laughing out loud at the written word. But I come here, and it Happens. Every. Time.

Hoping to finally meet the man behind the text at Stitches MW. The shawl is stunning.

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