Feb 22, 2010

Commuting with Fiber

Source unknown.  Received this photo via e-mail several years ago.  The man knows how to make a statement! 

I'm a commuter.  I take the bus and then the Metrorail (i.e., a subway that runs a significant portion above ground).  My door-to-door commute runs about 45 minutes on average but somedays, due to weather or a sick passenger, it can drag on another 15 minutes.  I used to think I was one of the lucky ones until I read that local commuters in the metropolitan D.C. area spend an average of 33 minutes getting to work, nearly 8 minutes a day more than the national average, according to data released last September by the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.  But, despite a commute that is 12 minutes longer than the regional average, I am still better off than the more than 100,000 local workers who spend 90 minutes or more commuting to work.  Most of them do it behind the wheel of a car.  I do mine behind the head of a bus driver or train operator.

Despite the seemingly cranky mantle I wear when I finally arrive at the office, I secretly like my commute.  Commuting via public transit provides the most wonderful opportunities to read a book in peace (no constant interruptions for "Can we go . . . " or "What's for dinner?").  Commuting via public transit also allows long stretches of down (as in sitting) time during which I can take out my project bag and start hooking away.  Despite the relatively short commute time, I can rock out a hat in two days of commuting, a small neck scarf in a day.  Although I miss listening to the radio (Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! rocks) during my daily commute, I no longer enter the building already the stereotype of the harried government worker.  What shape I am when I leave the building is another story altogether.

Unfortunaltely, the needle arts are not as popular among the commuting set as reading the Washington Post (or its unfortunate little offspring, the Express that often is left on seats for others to enjoy), listening to the latest tunes with expensive I-Pods with cheap earphones that allow folks two rows away to "enjoy" the music as well, or simply staring off into space.  But every now and then, I run across a kindred soul who industriously spends this precious time indulging in these ancient arts, unknowingly keeping them alive for future generations.  Sometimes our eyes will meet and we smile a knowing smile, sort of like an invisible nod of acknowledgement.  If we are within talking distance, we politely, so as not to bore the other passengers, inquire about the project but it's a bit like talking in a secret code:
  • "That's a lovely blanket you are crocheting/knitting" translates to "You go, Girl! I love public displays of fiber."
  • "What yarn/pattern are you using" translates to "You are not alone.  There are a lot of us hiding in plain site."
  • "Have you been to XXX local yarn store" translates to "There's a place where folks like us meet up. Perhaps you would like to join our secret society."
Then the train or bus stops and one of us departs for work or home.  Thus endeth the secret dialogue and we sadly pack up our yarn and hooks and prepare for what lies ahead on our desk or in our kitchen.

Perhaps my crankiness upon arriving at work is not a facade.


Leslie said...

Victoria, that is an awesome photos, I wants to steal it.

Love your listing of Code words for knitters as well.

VicJoRob said...

Go ahead and steal. That's what I did.

Nancy said...

Since I get to be the one going thru the train seeing everyone else either reading, hooking, or sticking, I really get cranky myself. I want to be sitting there doing that myself!!!! ;D

Anonymous said...

I used to commute 50 minutes one way when living in the San Francisco Bay Area by way of BART. I read a novel a month. Now my commute is the same but driving. I hate this.

Mariah said...

Oh I wish I could craft on my commute, but alas public transportation is not available in rural Iowa.

I finally got to the meme you tagged me with way back in June. Thought you might be interested: