Posted on December 3, 2004 at 1:33 pm

First of all, let me say that I am weak from happiness.  A thousand thanks to you if you posted a comment to my self-indulgent list yesterday.  I am blessed to have you as a reader, and grateful for your humouring me.
So here’s today’s installment of Strange Tales From the Book of Purl.

This morning, I said to my husband that he had to have the car inspection sticker updated, because it expired over a month ago, and as I have the car on Sunday to Boston, to take the Divine Miss C and her beloved best friend of-the-moment to see The Lion King,  I don’t want to be driving around in a car that is flouting the law.  Especially since we didn’t support our local Sherrif in the last election because he’s a Republican, and that is the kind of town I live in.
So my husband told me I could go and have it inspected myself, which he knew would be something fun for me to do because, after all, I could knit in peace while I waited.
Too true.
It is an "older" car–1995–and the first place I took it (where they have reasonable coffee and ample something-like-upholstered chairs for knitting) said that his equipment was (and I quote) "50% broken."  So I should take it to the Sunoco across the river.  Where they have . . . plastic lawn chairs and no coffee; a buffet of Coca-Cola products in a licensed Pepsi cooler; every kind of gum known to humankind; loud conversations in Arabic; and a pair of retirees, each having their respective tires rotated before their annual winter road-trips to Florida.  As I came in, they were comparing the post-hurricane states of their usual accomodations. I heard "Condo’s still standing.  ‘Can’t say much about what’s left of the high rise luxury hotel that took most of the storm off the beach.  But we got our condo still there. Heh-heh."  So I sat down on one of the unoccupied almost-clean chairs, pulled out the Green River socks, and began to knit.
EarringsThere was a pause in the room as six people regarded the spectacle of a
41-year-old woman in huge arty earrings knitting away in their midst (I
had been at my friend Abby’s trunkshow earlier and I felt compelled to
indulge myself with something.)  I was curious about their reaction.  I mean, you’d think I was
breastfeeding or something the way they acted.  And everyone in that
room was older than me. Don’t older people know more knitters per capita than we gen-Xers? Had I hit a demographic anomaly here?  After an awkward and silent five minutes,
the conversation started up again, and then one retiree heading to
Florida said to me "Is that a sock you’re making there?"
"Yes.  The second of a pair."
"Why are you doing that?  Are you poor?" (I swear to the heavens that he said that.)
I considered my possible responses at this point, ranging from showing him the price tag of the yarn I was knitting with, to making an I-cord and strangling myself, to pontificating about the "new honesty" in the country where now that everyone has had their fill of reality shows, we all feel entitiled to share and to know the intimate medical and financial details of our neighbors.  I have a back fence neighbor who told me this summer–entirely unprovoked–that he has a zero sperm count.  I can’t tell you his first name, but I know his fertility prospects. 
But I felt charitable this morning since my husband let me out of the house, and gave me activity that accomodated knit time.  I said "You’ve never worn a homemade sock before, have you?"
"No"
"It’s like. . ." and I hesitated for dramatic effect "it’s like fresh baked bread for your feet."

He paused for a moment, considering his options of response, and then he asked me.
"You ever sell any of your socks?"
I took that as a conversion. Right there in the Sunoco waiting room.  I saved a man from his preconceptions about knitting.
Praise Kaffe!

*after writing this post, I realized that someone might think it callous of me to find such a question to be funny.  Please read the story before you think I’m insulting the financially constrained.