Way, way back a very long time ago in May of this year I attended my very first knitting retreat. I was supposed to go with my local knitting buddy, but just hours before we were to leave she had a real, honest to Dog family emergency. Mr. Knitting Buddy had a ruptured appendix. I know, right?! But don’t worry. He recovered nicely.
Had everything gone according to plan, I was going to ride with my knitting buddy to Winston Salem to meet up with two of her knitting buddies and then we were to caravan to Tennessee. With my knitting buddy (and therefore, ride) out of the equation, I was fully prepared to just stay home and garden for the weekend. We’d been having some unusually cool weather, just perfect for a pansy like me to work outside. Plus, I think I may have developed some very mild social anxieties in recent years. Or possibly I’ve just gotten lazy and really like hanging around the house in sweat pants.
My pronouns are about to expand and this story is going to get ridiculously difficult to tell if I don’t start giving these people actual names. My knitting buddy is Karin. Her two knitting buddies that we were to meet in Winston Salem are Tracey and Tracy. Actually, giving two of them the same name might not have decreased the confusion factor, here.
I’d met Tracey and Tracy exactly once, for a Sunday morning knitting brunch. Hearing of Karin’s family emergency and realizing that left me needing a ride, Tracey put her noodle to work immediately to figure out how she could get me to Winston Salem to ride to the retreat in Tennessee with her and Tracy. Through what I now know to be a vast and complicated network of knitters, Tracey was aware of another lady in Winston Salem, named Kristin, who was going to be carpooling with a lady from Raleigh, named Faith, whom no one else I’ve named yet even knew. All Tracey had to do was get in contact with Kristin to see if she would contact Faith to find out if I could ride along.
I have to say, I was not comfortable with this plan. At. All. I didn’t like the idea of inconveniencing anyone and I was kind of stunned that people I’d met once, but couldn’t even say I knew would go to so much trouble to get me to a knitting retreat. However, my attempts to make sure nobody felt bad about me staying home so that I could – just stay home – fell on unhearing ears. Tracey and Tracy and Karin were intent on me going to Tennessee.
A short while later, it occurred to me that maybe another reason I should have been uncomfortable with what Tracey and Tracy and Karin were trying to arrange is that I would have to accept a ride – a long ride – with a stranger. But this didn’t actually cross my mind at first. While I’m sure there must be cases where knitters have picked up strangers, strangled them, and left them covered in leaves in a ditch somewhere, I am pretty sure they don’t do this to other knitters. I’m not aware of the existence of a Knitters Code of Conduct, but I think this is probably just an unspoken given. Thou shalt not commit stranglery or other heinous acts against thy fellow knitter.
But like I said, none of that crossed my mind. What did cross my mind was that this poor woman had no way of knowing that I didn’t have a long string of dead, leafy bodies in my past, so she really should decline this request (if it ever made its way to her). A short time later, Kristin e-mailed Tracey, who texted Karin, who called to give me Faith’s phone number. I think by this time Tracy had left the confusion and gone to bed. And when Faith and I finally spoke, her voice did not sound burdened with the guilt of murdering random strangers. But she did sound young and my motherly instinct half wanted to scold her for agreeing to give me, a stranger, a ride! Instead, after we hung up I texted her a very awkward assurance that I was not a criminal. In hind sight, I bet many actual criminals would say that, too.
Early the next morning, Faith showed up at my door. It turns out I don’t just accept rides from strangers, I also very much enjoy talking to them, too. And if she’d offered me candy, I totally would have taken it (even at 7:30 in the morning). Our ride was over before I knew it. She unpacked into Kristin’s car and I transferred to the Tracey/Tracy-mobile, where I learned so much more about this vast and complicated network of knitters.
More on that, later.