Who would have guessed that a woman quietly knitting on Wimbledon's center court could cause such a media uproar?
"A MYSTERY woman stunned tennis fans as she spent the entirety of Andy Murray's thrilling match – KNITTING," opened one article.
The Daily Mail sniped, "The woman seems more interested in her pink knitting than Andy Murray's match against Marcos Baghdatis at Wimbledon."
The Telegraph asked, "Who brings their knitting to a sports match?"
I teach my writing students to avoid opening an article with a question because the reader may offer the answer you're not wanting. As in this case. A great many knitters would answer, "We would."
When my son graduated from third grade, I brought my knitting to the ceremony, which promised to be a long drawn-out affair in a stifling hot community hall. No one really seemed to pay me much attention as I worked on my sock. I put my knitting down to clap after the speeches, which I actually listened to -- had I not had my knitting, my mind surely would have drifted to thoughts of what to make for dinner, whose calls I should return, and the work that waited for me at my desk. I snapped pictures, videos were taken, and I knit a full ten rows of my sock by the time we were released from our seats and into the refreshment area.
A couple days later we attended the school picnic. I was taking to a group of parents about the graduation ceremony, and one dad commented, "Did you see the older woman up in front knitting? Why would anyone knit in public?" Everyone tittered, and once I got over the shock of being referred to as an older woman, I admitted, "I was the one who was knitting."
The father tried to backtrack, claiming there was another woman at the ceremony knitting, but I assure you readers, I was the only one there with needles and yarn. I am certain of this because had there been another person knitting, we would have gravitated to each other afterwards to admire and fondle handiwork. You knitters know how this goes.
I wanted to lecture him that knitting isn't just an older woman pastime. Men knit. Tattooed Insane Clown Posse fangirls knit. I'm pretty sure there's an NFL player who plays with sticks and string. I wanted to tell him that knitting helps me focus: I actually listen better and process information more quickly when my hands are at work. Moreover, if you watch me knit, I rarely look down at my work. I can watch television, my son's swimming class, and read a book with nary a glance at my lap.
Instead, I said, "Did you notice how many people were checking their iPhones during the event?" I noticed, because like I said, I don't have to look down at my knitting to pay attention, so I could look around the hall. Most parents had their cell phones in hand, and many of them were typing and clicking away. Last I checked, you have to look at your iPhone to read e-mail, send a text, or surf the web.
He changed the subject. He had his Crackberry in hand at the picnic.