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December 28, 2005

The Cranky Knitter rides the Subway.

I was cranky for a good reason. I walked home from the office, a 20 minute walk, and got to my block only to realize I forgot my apartment keys. One twenty minute walk was enough, so I took the subway back to retrieve them. I dropped my bags and knapsack off with the doorman, taking just my wallet, Metrocard, phone. I stuffed the mitered hat in my pocket to knit on the subway.

Even with New Yorkers’ reputations for being blasé, people on the subway do notice a guy knitting, probably because I notice them – I don’t have to look at my knitting when I knit. This freaks people out, so there are times I deliberately look at my knitting because it makes people less uncomfortable. There are times I’ll tuck my knitting into my hand to hide it as well, usually when a mob of teenaged boys gets on. Usually they couldn’t care less or find it amusing, but I’d rather not risk the exception until they’re settled in and ignoring me.

Then there are the people who just think it’s abso-fucking-lutely wonderful that I knit. Like this chatty woman who am I am sure is a very nice lady, but whose novel question (that I’ve only heard 1637 times) is if I knit to relax. Which should be absofuckinglutely wonderful, but it just isn’t novel to me that you’ve seen your first male knitter. I’ve been knitting for going on two decades. No, I don’t have three nipples and last I checked my penis is properly attached in the correct spot. Yes, I am queer. No, I don’t need to knit for stress, nor am I mentally unstable. No, I don’t do it to relax. I do it because it’s a more profitable use of my time than sitting on the subway gawking at some schmuck who’s knitting.

So by all means ask me how I knit, or what the pattern is, or where you can buy yarn. Just don’t ask me if I knit to relax. Because you’re stressing me out.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at December 28, 2005 11:35 PM

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This reminds me of one of my favorite stories. Linda Ellerbee (I adore her) tells a story about a talk show she co-hosted with Andrea Mitchell of NBC News. Andrea is/was apparently a very impatient and tightly wound colleague and not only was she tightly wound, but was very aware of it. Anyhow, Linda Ellerbee recounts a story of Andrea Mitchell being interviewed about this new talk show they were co-hosting and the interviewer asked what she did to relieve the stress of their crazy work schedule and life and Andrea, without missing a beat, responded "I drink coffee." I love that story. Perhaps Andrea should consider taking up knitting or perhaps rebuilding carburators on the subway! :-)

Posted by: Steve at December 29, 2005 1:17 AM

Oh dear. People are stupid.

I get tall stuff all the time - "do you play basketball" "Can you give me a few of your inches" "you're SO big" (I love that one).

My god, the originality. And the next person who asks me about the weather up there gets spit on.

My sympathy is yours.

Posted by: Juno at December 30, 2005 8:39 PM

Oh, come now, Leigh. I KNOW you are just like the rest of us knitters, you knit to relax. Don't be so bashful about it. And let's face it, we're all mentally unstable, and it's only because we knit that we function in the real world.


(Sorry. I just couldn't resist.)

Posted by: Grace at December 30, 2005 10:06 PM

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