Thursday, April 21, 2005

What are you doing with those toothpicks?

Though I am currently on a very long business trip, last week brought a very short one. I went to Phoenix for a mere day and a half trip, and I had not one but two amusing experiences whilst knitting on the plane.

As always, I was sitting in an aisle seat, next to a particularly chatty gentleman. Well, I'm not always next to a particularly chatty gentleman, but this time I was. This didn't really bother me, as he was amiable enough, and as knitting generally renders idle, unsought chatter more or less palatable. After a few minutes, Mr. Chatty leaned across me a bit and said to the guy across the aisle from me something like, "Hey, aren't you Craig?" It was indeed Craig (or some other monosyllabic name of that ilk). At first I thought that perhaps they knew one another, but it soon became clear that Mr. Monosyllabic Name didn't know Mr. Chatty at all, but was just being polite in discussing whatever sports-related thing they were talking about (something to do with coaches transferring, maybe).

Monosyllabic returned to his graham crackers and beverage, and I eventually asked Mr. Chatty who he was. Evidently he used to be a local sportscaster, perhaps went to work for ESPN for a while, and was returning to Utah to become the new voice of the Utah Jazz to replace a retiring Hotrod Hundley. (Hey, it turns out this is more or less an accurate version of things, as I just read here. Evidently, he worked for CBS too.)

At any rate, obviously I don't follow sports, as I didn't know this guy from Adam, though now that I've researched it, I have a dim recollection of hearing his name, no doubt when he was still on the local news years ago.

So, the funny thing is that a little while later this well-known sports play-by-play announcer noticed I was knitting, and leaned over and started asking me questions about it. What was I knitting? Oh, socks! That's so cool! His mother knits, but he's never seen her knitting socks. How does it work? I explained and handed him the finished sock I had with me. He turned it over in his hands, making comments about how great they were, how durable and long-wearing they must be, etc, showing it to his wife as well.

With that, our conversation ended, and I was more than a little bit amused to realize that, in an unexpected role reversal, I'd been completely oblivious to and ignoring a celebrity, who in turn started paying attention to me and asking me questions, effectively pestering me on a plane ride.

Yes, my friends, knitting in public is a little bit like being a rock star.

That interaction took place on the flight to Phoenix. The return flight was slightly amusing too. As the flight attendant stopped at my seat during the drink service, she said to me, "What are you doing there?" I'm very much used to this question when I'm working on socks, as it seems that few people can immediately identify them on the needles. "It's a sock," I replied, flipping the work in such a direction as to make it appear more sock-like. (This seems to be my standard "it's a sock" illustration method.) "No, what is it that you're doing? I said to my co-worker, 'Did you see that woman with all those toothpicks?,' but we didn't know what you were doing." A light dawned, and I replied, "Oh. I'm knitting. This is knitting." Confusion between knitting and crocheting is an everyday occurance in my life, and probably that of just about every other knitter out there. But the complete bewilderment of someone with seemingly no frame of reference within which to place your activity was unexpected.

I guess I should have told her it was toothpick voodoo -- you know, the FAA-friendly version.