Saturday, January 23, 2010

Comparatively Speaking

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was a much younger version of the Sheepie you see today. I was teaching in a different school district and I wasn't knitting. I was what you might call "a knitter in remission." The combination of youth and not knitting might account for the slight arrogance I displayed back then.

Knitting humbles a person. That is just a fact. Nothing teaches more about humility than knitting.

My job then was pretty similar to the one I have now and, as such, it required that I have one or two Teaching Assistants. I interviewed several and ended up hiring a woman who was fairly new to the job market. She was more mature than most of the applicants, held a Master's degree and, due to a divorce, was now back in the job market.

She didn't so much need the work as she did the distraction. Her children were grown and her life was changing. She went from the big house, rich husband and career as wife and mother to a life she didn't fully understand.

We didn't communicate very well. I simply didn't "get" her, nor she me. The things that confounded her to the point of tears were the things I did every day. If the car needed service, the house needed maintenance or the bills needed paying, I did it. I lived on a budget and accepted that sometimes I didn't have the means to do as I pleased.

She, on the other hand, found these tasks and restrictions almost offensive. She didn't mean to be rude about it. Yet, she could come across that way. Even in her reduced circumstances, her life was easier than mine. She had resources at her disposal that I did not. Still, she found it all unbearable. It left her shaken to the point of clinical depression.

I was irritated by it. I was polite and professional but will admit that I made comments behind her back. The fact that she could dribble tears on her designer shoes and blow her nose on brand name tissues while the rest of us lived the exact same lives without drama frustrated me. As I said, I was younger then and arrogant. I didn't realize people aren't all in the same place on the learning curve. Even if I had known, I probably wouldn't have been too forgiving. And I didn't knit so I had yet to experience the humbling lessons the yarn has to teach us.

The whole thing was a good life lesson, though. I figured out along the way that misery is relative and that how a person feels is valid even if it isn't rational. The angst of a woman living in a nice house and with disposable income when compared to that of a person experiencing true loss is kind of silly. But that's just how it goes sometimes and comparing misery doesn't always make a person feel any better.

I also learned that eye-rolling is human nature in these kinds of situations. Who among us isn't going to want to rip the toilet plunger out of the murky water and hurl it at the person whining about how their new bathroom renovation is going slowly because the handmade tiles are on back order? It's a forgivable impulse.

Although why you would invite this person over to talk about handmade bath tiles while you plunge out your old, leaky toilet is beyond me...

It is in the spirit of this understanding attitude that I present to you my mitten. It is but a single mitten and yet it has consumed me. I have whined about that mitten and how it is trying to thwart me at every turn for a week now. Wait...it might even be longer than that. I don't remember. All I know is that it has driven me crazy. It is a humble mitten. I've knit more challenging things without these issues. There is nothing fancy about this mitten at all. In fact, it is a simple project and not something to inspire such drama. But mittens have always fought me and drama is relative to the person experiencing it.






And so is eye-rolling. You have my permission to roll your eyes with wild abandon. In your position and faced with the same simple mitten, I'd probably do the same.


I cast on the second of the pair this morning and am moving forward. I'm not going to let my mitten angst keep me from finishing them and I'm going to try to keep it in perspective. After all, there are people out there tinking back lace shawls from the fiftieth repeat to the third and you don't hear them complaining, do you?

Although, I might point out that shawls do not have thumbs...

SA

16 comments:

Beth said...

It looks great! I guess we each have our "mittens" of knitting. For me, it's socks. I'm very intimidated by them. Good luck on mitten #2!

Donna Lee said...

I'm always amazed at how the simple patterns can be really hard. Maybe because we don't pay enough attention to them (after all they're only mittens).

Karen said...

That mitten looks great!! I bet the second will be just as nice.

Denise said...

It's wonderful, stupendous, glorious mitten. It should be up for mitten of the year. Plain? Not this mitten. If you would point me in the right direction to the mitten awards, I will gladly nominate this mitten for mitten of the year ;)

Susie said...

Hi, sweetie! Miss me?

I've missed *you*...I've had to back up a whole lot of months and get to reading to catch up with you. I, on the other hand, have not left you the burden of reading regular posts in order to catch up with me. I'm nice like that.

Anyway, I'm lurking around your blog again. Just thought you oughta know...

~Hugs~

Jeanne said...

There is no eye-rolling going on over here. I've tried the thumbs, and they have won, which is why I knit socks, and if I must knit a hand garment, it's gauntlets (no fingers!!.

The mitten is wonderfully perfect in its humble simplicity. Kudos.

Julia G said...

The mitten looks lovely, -- it seems to be gesturing, I come in peace!

We all have our own journeys -- remembering my own youthful arrogance makes me wince. But knitting is the great equalizer. It rewards patience, perseverance, and faith in the future. And keeps your hands (and thumbs) warm.

My verification word is "vugles". Must be some new-fangled vegetable they sell in the farmers' market, ayup!

kmkat said...

I am glad for your sake that mittens do not have sleeves. Good luck on #2.

Mel said...

It has a thumb and a rest-of-hand part in more or less the correct positions, and even a cuff to hold it on the hand and keep the wrist warm. I'd say that's a pretty good mitten. Wearable, even.

=Tamar said...

Your mitten looks just fine. Classic.

My verification word is hyperave.
Hmm.

Mia said...

That first part? Ouchie.

The mitten? fabulous :)

trek said...

If they are tinking back forty-seven pattern repeats, shame on them. They should have installed lifelines.

Mitten looks fine.

PS - When can HM and RM come out to play?

Anonymous said...

I'm very grateful that our feet don't have thumbs; otherwise I don't think I would knit any socks.
My verification is scannit. I like it!
Carol T

Elaine said...

It's a perfect mitten!! I'm right behind Denise in second-ing her nomination for mitten-of-the-year!
Can't wait to see its mate.....

Northmoon said...

I too have become less judgemental as I get older, thank goodness.

I hope you have worked through your mitten issues on Mitten 1, and will have an easier time with it's mate. ;)

Kath said...

You are correct - shawls do not have thumbs. I might also point out that they do not have sleeves. Or collars. Or many other bits that can be troublesome. I have just started knitting my first shawl and I am finding it to be incredibly restful!