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...