I may have mentioned that I’m a little, um, on the verbal side . . . at times near-terminally logorrheic. And a sad symptom of my incessant linguistic output is that I’m constantly on the lookout for inputs. I read every road sign, every lobby-poster, every screen-crawl, anything with letters on it that happens to drift past my eyeballs. Most of the time it’s pretty benign stuff: “Ventura 30mi” or “This lobby fountain brought to you by EvilCorp, Inc.” but occasionally the really weird stuff jumps out at me and catches my attention. Most of the time this drives The Baron nuts. He is adamant about respect for property – rightfully so, but sometimes it gets his hackles up which is pretty adorable – and absolutely hates it when people plaster their “message” over public spaces.
On the other hand, there are times when the verbiage that people put out into the world is pretty hilarious, like the other day when we encountered a pimped-out monster-truck just driving around town with a bumper sticker reading “I heart vagina.” I nearly peed myself. Thanks so much for letting me know sir! I like mine just fine, thanks, and I’m glad you’re on board too. Oh, and by the way, while we’re sharing our innermost thoughts with strangers via signs on our cars, anything you’re feeling a little insecure about? Overcompensating much?
I wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a photo of that truck . . . it speaks in my memory powerfully. So this morning, as I sat in traffic for about 40 minutes staring straight ahead of me, I pondered this “Stay Human” sticker for a while before I finally thought to my self “duh, self, take a picture!” (My apologies to the driver in front of me, who probably thought I was insane. Ha ha, welcome to the club ma’am.) Turns out “Stay Human” is an album title for a band I’ve never heard or heard of, and also the name of an Australian “green and sustainable” goods manufacturer – I had to google first to make sure I wasn’t putting some insane propaganda on my blog.
The slogan stayed in my mind for the whole drive to work and I’ve been cogitating on it all morning. Sometimes I do feel a little too plugged-in, too much about my corporate job and my computer and even my digital photos and my knitting blog. Just for example, when did “google” and “blog” become some of the most active verbs of my day? Even worse, yesterday The Baron sent me an instant message asking “why am I learning about you from your blog when we share the same bed?”
I don’t have any good answers to the existential questions, except to simply accept that things are what they are, and that I’m doing my best to take a “think globally, act locally” approach to life as much as I can. And here’s where the knitting part of the “knitting blog” comes in, people! I know you were waiting anxiously to see how I was gonna bring this all back to yarn and sticks . . . knitting is a big part of me “staying human” and “acting locally.” I know there are fiber artists out there who have a really clearly thought-out philosophy about what their art and craft means to them, and my hat is off to those people. I hope someday to be one of them. For right now, however, I am at the beginning stage of creative exploration in my own life. In college I used to score A’s on my English papers by choosing a small character, a minor theme, and unearthing it completely – using a very focused point of entry to help get to the nugget of chocolatey meaning at the center of the Shakespeare or Dylan Thomas or Robert Lowell tootsie pop. Now I’ve found something (knitting) that I really enjoy doing (hurrah!), and I’m hoping that if I just keep trying to hash it out – keep thinking and writing about the work I do at the office, at home, and with yarn – that it will eventually start to make sense.
Knitting brings me ever farther away from the disposable commercialism I see everywhere around me. I see a baby blanket that I’ve had for years and realize how much affection and care went into creating it for me. Friends have started to bring me favorite sweaters to re-weave holes. I look at kitchen waste – the plastic tie on a loaf of bread, or the plastic netting that holds tomatoes – and I wonder “could I use that for knitting?” I feel like such a Pollyanna just typing this, but I think there is a very direct connection between spending 10 hours knitting a pair of socks and then buying a 6-pack of tube socks made in China for $10.99, and this connection is only made visible to me because of the knitting. I try to buy organic when I can, and buy local where I can, and to really think about what goes into the things I throw away.
So that’s my attempt to move beyond bumper-sticker rhetoric for the day. I’m doing the best I can to stay human, even in this ether of electrons.