28 February 2007

Stitching ‘n Bitching

I’ve been chastised for not writing about my knitting group here. It's not that I was ignoring them or intended any slight. Though the ladies in the group have been an integral part of me adjusting to life here in the UK, I just hadn’t thought that a bunch of old grannies and few (nearing) middle-aged knitsters (including myself) would be of interest to anyone but me. The truth is, though the knitting may not be, the women certainly are.

I wasn't even aware of it myself until today: they’ve been more of a help than I’d known.
Monday was a horrible day. Normally I enjoy my trip to London – a train journey that allows me to read or knit uninterrupted, a chance to visit Café Macchiato and have a buffalo mozzarella and tomato sandwich on the softest, most perfect ciabatta I’ve had outside of Italy, a quiet sit outside Euston station where I choose between honey-roasted cashews and pecans and a Belgian chocolate brownie to have with my vanilla latte before boarding the train and then a nap or a read on the way back home. Monday I did not enjoy my trip.

On the train on the way up I had a woman next to me who wouldn’t sit down for more than two minutes at a time because she kept standing up to talk to her family in the set of seats in front of us and then super-lonely guy, on the way back, who needed to continuously talk on his cell phone (even though the phone kept dying and he had to keep redialing whoever it was he was annoying besides me) who spoke so loudly that I could hear him even with my earphones in and The Stone Roses up as loud as I could get them without giving myself a migraine. Un-fucking-believable.

I missed the first train I intended to take so I had no time between the time I arrived at Euston and the time I needed to be at the salon to make it to the shop I wanted to go to. My stylist was running behind schedule, which she never does, so she finished my hair at 6 instead of 5, so I still didn't get to the one shop I needed to get to before heading back to the station for my train home, which, by the way, I missed because I'd walked to a shop that was already closed. Shit.

I had fast food for dinner (which I am pretty sure that I gave up for Lent, but it was that or powdered toast when I got home at 11 p.m.) and my husband was late picking me up from the station,
while the train was slightly early, so I stood around outside in a town that is normally about 2 degrees cooler and 20% windier than the town we live in. Bollocks!

As one can imagine, I was not a happy bunny when I arrived home. I went (almost) straight to bed, slept nearly completely through the night (I am like an infant when it comes to sleep. I usually have to pee in the night, but since I don’t have the luxury of weeing in pants and having someone clean up the mess in the morning, I have to get up, which I loathe) and then woke up this morning feeling what my friend describes as pants. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with feeling crappy, which very accurately characterized how I felt. I was tired and cranky and in no mood for anyone today. The post arrived bringing the yarn that I'd won on eBay, but was the wrong color because the shtooopid woman that listed it listed it as one color when it was really another (and, mind you, the numbers were not close - 167 instead of 154, urgh!) and I already had that color so I was miffed, irascible, droopy-eyed and feeling "pants" before I even reached the kitchen for coffee. Which, much to my chagrin, hadn't yet been made. Damnit!

Can you say, “Stay away from the crazy lady. Awoo-gah, Awoo-gah, this is not a drill! I repeat, this is not a drill! Dive, dive, dive!” ? Yes, I thought you could.

Even my ever-placid cat took one look at me, headed straight for back door to wait for me to open it and, when I did, went promptly out of it. Screw the rain - she preferred to sit outside. I imagine her telling the other neighborhood cats over a catnip toy they were passing around, “It’s either get wet or deal with my human, and I make it a point to never deal with my human.”

Needless to say (but I'm going to anyway), I was in no mood for a 15-mile drive that would take me 40+ minutes. I intended to skip Stitch ‘n Bitch because I feared that I would be less of a stitch and more of a bitch and that that wouldn’t be good for anyone. But, as I'd arranged to meet someone there to talk about bears (don’t ask!), I felt obligated to go. My friend, the closest friend I have here in the UK, sent me a text to say that she wasn't coming and that made me even less inclined to go. Sigh.

Going was the best thing that I could have done.

I arrived at our usual meeting place to see another friend and her beautiful little grandson, who has one of those sweet, little kid voices [made all the better for his little English accent (I know, I know, I’m the one with the accent)]. He had a brand new fire truck and was on his way home with his nan to get some supper and, more importantly, extricate his new toy from its box. He said a dulcetly high-pitched "bye-bye" to me and, as they left, more of the group started drifting in, including the friend I wasn’t expecting to see! I had lemon drizzle cake and a small vanilla cappuccino and a good old natter while we knitted. Another friend showed up late, but she sat near me and kept me in stitches (pardon the pun) the entire time. It's been a long time since I laughed so easily and comfortably with a group of people. I wasn't the new American girl anymore, I was part of the gang. I got invited to a birthday party (it’s for a 6-year-old, but, hey, it’s an invite) and I made plans with two of the girls to make plans for a girls’ night out. Excellent.

By the time I'd left, I felt more like I used to - social, included, happy.

I needed that. I needed them.

Thanks for taking me under your wings, ladies, and for making me one of your own - even if it's only for an hour, every Tuesday night.

It’s midnight now, and I am going to have to post this tomorrow because the steamer that the husband is using to strip the wallpaper off the walls in the upstairs bedroom just tripped the breaker that controls all of the sockets in the house.

And you know what? I don’t even care. I’m going to go eat half a tub of Cinder Toffee ice cream so that it doesn’t melt and call it serendipity.


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