Over three decades ago, emergency surgery came on the heels of separation from my daughter’s father. Recovering from both, I was both a heart- and physically sore newly single (and scared) 23 year old parent. Of course I swore it would be a long time before I dated anyone.
I planned on soothing my soul by playing in the sand with my baby (we lived near the beach) and knitting peacefully in the evenings while she slept – and all other times I could sneak it in. I put my baby into a backpack and knit while walking along the beach or to the store. I knit as she slept on my lap, whether at home or on the bus. I knit, therefore I was! (The great picture on the left is from Jackie Morris‘s blog.)
Of course I had to work to support us, and soon after I returned to work I caught the eye of a fellow bus commuter who was apparently determined to get my attention on the ride into San Francisco. Now in all honesty, I had noticed him. A very tall Brit with dark curly hair, vivid blue eyes and a wearer of well-tailored suits, it would have been hard for any person not in a coma to miss him. I simply wasn’t interested in “meeting” him.
He was quite persistent. For two solid weeks he attempted to engage me in conversation during which time I only grunted in response and pointedly (and quite rudely) ignored him as I pulled out pieces of half-finished intricate knitting projects and Norwegian knitting patterns. As I knitted feverishly and read Norwegian patterns, I hoped he would assume I was a non-English speaking foreigner who, it seemed obvious, preferred her knitting to him.
On Friday of the second week, as people filed out of the bus I noticed he was outside the bus standing by the door. I stayed in my seat (knitting, of course), until he gave up waiting for me and started walking through the bus terminal. (To the right is a picture of the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco back in its glory days. Picture from the Timothy Pflueger Blog.) At that point I scurried off the bus and joined the crowd. I found myself in a sea of people moving en mass. I was, of course, knitting as I walked.
All was fine until (gasp!) I found myself at the top of the stairs looking at his back two steps down! I couldn’t back up or move sideways because of the crush of bodies around me, so I could only hope he wouldn’t turn around and see me. The people behind me moved into me as I refused to move from the step, and I started to get nervous.
Apparently my first thought was to save my knitting as I quickly shoved my knitting into the deep pockets of my trench coat but simultaneously I began to teeter on my large wooden platform shoes (they were so stylish 30 some years ago)! As my hands were in my pockets and I couldn’t flex my feet in their wooden coffin-like constraints, I was unable to get my balance. Down I went.
I fell forward, all 150 pounds of nearly 6 feet of me – well over 6 feet with those ridiculous shoes. Straight onto him. Somehow I ripped my hands out of my pockets just in the nick of time. I found myself with my arms around his neck, my chin on his left shoulder, with my body hanging straight (parallel with the floor), my toes still on the top step. Thankfully he was a big guy – probably 6′ 6″ and 250 lbs. or so – or I would have crushed the poor man.
Yes, of course, we went out. After all, it would have been rude to say no, given that he saved my neck and all. Turned out, growing up in England he saw his mother, grandmother, and an array of relatives knit regularly. He spoke of them quite fondly and showed me pictures of him as a boy in short pants wearing various hand knit sweaters, cardigans, and like.
Clearly, knitting is a great way to meet others!