I know I haven’t posted in a while, and for that I am sorry. Unfortunately, I have just seen that on July 4th, my blog was somehow “referred” to by http://imesothelioma.net/. I am officially going to make an attempt to move up in the ranks, and to be less associated with asbestos exposure and cancer. As a step in the right direction, and by request of the 2 out of 3 people who subscribe to my blog, I am going to start writing about my adventures on the Metro Transit system in the Twin Cities. The goal of this series is to entertain you with my encounters on the bus, mainly the 16 bus line. With that being said, I want to update you on some of my experiences so far, so that you know what you are getting into.
Things I have learned on the 16:
The jails in Saint Paul are nicer than those in Minneapolis. One of my very first experiences on the bus after my move to MN was on the 16. (This was before I had learned my lesson, and naively sat at the back of the bus on a regular basis.) There were two gentlemen sitting across from each other having a very logical and calm discussion with each other. The could have been talking about anything: what they had done over the weekend, a new movie they had seen, anything! But no, they were not talking about such mundane things, they were discussing which police station they should turn themselves into. As if this isn’t shocking enough, they went on to talk about how the Minneapolis system was a bit more lenient, but the Saint Paul “facilities” were newer. They were seriously debating a shorter sentence in a shitty jail, over a longer one with better accommodations. I never did figure out what exactly they were turning themselves in FOR, and it’s probably better that I don’t know.
Some girls sparkle (but this has nothing to do with Twilight). I was waiting at the bus stop last week and there was a girl on her cell phone, talking for the whole world to hear. Personally, I do my best not to have cell phone conversations in public. For one, the people around you probably don’t want to hear your conversation, especially not just one side of the conversation. Usually one side of a conversation is really boring or, in this case, very entertaining. I learned that this girl had gone on some kind of blind/double date over the weekend and was recounting the event to her friend on the phone. She spoke of some restaurant they went to, and that the food was good, etc. She also mentioned how nice is was to see her friend(s), presumably the other half of the double date. Then she went into how she didn’t “sparkle” with Mr. Blind Date. Apparently she “sparkled” with other guys, especially her last boyfriend, etc. This sparkle-talk went on even after we got on the bus. I really think she said “I just don’t sparkle with him” about 45 times in a 20 minute period. I began to giggle to myself when I started thinking about “sparkle” being some kind of euphemism, but I really hope she was just talking about her connection with this guy.
Knitting at Starbucks is very different from knitting on the 16. Most of you who read this blog know that I am a knitter, it’s actually a bit of an obsession, but I am ok with that. I spend a lot of my down time working on some project or another. This means that on the weekends, if I want coffee, I might go to a coffee shop and enjoy my latte while I work on a pair of socks, or a shawl, or whatever. Many times I have had women come up to me and make some sort of comment: “What are you working on?”, “What beautiful yarn!”, “My mother was a knitter, it is so nice to see the younger generation carrying on that skill”….whatever. They are always nice, always interested, and always impressed. Another definition for “down time” for me is “bus time”. While I am on the bus, I knit. Some people can read, I can’t, but I don’t have to look at my knitting most of the time, so I can just sit and knit…usually in peace. There have been many interesting encounters on the 16 when I have my knitting needles out.
Once, I had a woman look at me and ask “Is that Silky Wool?” This seemed like a fairly innocent question, she was asking if the yarn I was using was a particular brand. This would be the equivalent of asking someone “Is that CK One you are wearing?” or “Is that shirt from the GAP?” (but this woman didn’t sound like she was trying to pick me up). Regardless, this was a leading question, because once I said “yes, it is Silky Wool” I expected some kind of follow up about a project she was working on, or how it’s her favorite yarn, something. Clearly, if this woman was able to identify what yarn I was using from across the bus, we had something in common. But no, that was the end of the conversation. She knew what yarn I was using, and that was all she wanted to know. The end.
The most common encounter I have on the bus about my knitting has happened 3 times now. I have been working on a pair of socks…socks are a small project, very portable and I don’t need a pattern for them anymore, which makes them easy bus knitting. Each time, someone has asked “What are you making?”, I respond with the obvious “a sock”. As far as I am aware, there are only two definitions for “sock”: a garment to be worn on the foot, or a hard blow to some part of the body. Clearly, I am not knitting the latter, so by the power of deduction, it is a garment for the foot. This should be simple enough to understand, but for many of those on the 16, this is not the case. I have come to the conclusion that it is just shocking that I am making something by hand that one could purchase for $5.99/6pk at Target. The most common response to my answer is something along the lines of “Like the kind you wear?” or “Why would you do that?” or “Are you poor?”. Although this usually comes off as accusatory, the conversation usually just ends in the other party being confused. So for those of you who ride the 16 with me in the morning, or anyone else sharing a bus with a knitter: I am doing it for enjoyment, not out of necessity. Knitting my own socks/sweaters/hats/scarves does not mean I am poor, in fact, I save absolutely NO money by doing these things on my own. Please do not ask me what I am doing, I am trying to relax a few more minutes before I get into work. Thanks.
I have a theory that knitting in public puts some kind of label on you as a person. I’m not sure if people just think I am nice because I am a knitter, or that I like to talk to people, or that I have no friends, but whatever it is, it makes people what to engage in conversation. I have been advised that headphones (even if they aren’t attached to anything) would help this situation, apparently ear buds give off some kind of “don’t talk to me” signal that may outweigh the “I’m knitting so I must be interested in talking to you” signal. I need to give this a shot ASAP.
And the final lesson for today: Never sit in the back of the bus. Period.
Stay tuned for more stories from the 16.