In a rare turn of events, yesterday Joe and I were both packing. Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn’t that unusual for both of us to be packing. What was unusual was that we were packing and going different places. There was a brief tussle over our limited luggage options which I won using a powerful combination of wit, logic, charm, quick thinking and the time honoured technique of taking off my shirt. In the end, Joe took one large suitcase, and I took the wee rollerboard for my clothes, and an assortment of other bags and stuff so that I could separate out the supplies for each of the classes this weekend, which I think is very tidy and efficient.
Standing by the door now is all that I will need for this weekend. There’s a large bag with all my samples for the class on Sunday, and another large bag with the books that I want to show my students and have them use as reference. I have another bag with notions, post-its and dental floss (one of the classes is a lace class. Dental floss is unexpectedly handy) and my outlines. I have another bag with about 20 skeins of sample yarn, my knitting belt, my needles and the needles I bring in case a student needs them. I have a bag with my computer projector and cables so I can show slides, a bag of markers and one of those big conference pads so I can draw pictures. I have my laptop, for the aforementioned slide show, and a copy of my talk tonight printed out and put in a bag with all the handouts.
Beside that mountain of knitting related stuff, there is the tiny suitcase, which contains my toiletries, three shirts, a sweater, backup pants, socks, underpants and jammies, and I have my purse, which is really my personal knitting bag and has my wallet, a sock in progress, and the baby blanket.
When assessed with a critical eye (and by that I mean "were one to glance in its general direction with one’s eyes open for two seconds") it would be clear that my personal stuff, what I need to with me to function for three days, is teensy. It’s absolutely the fact that I’m doing knitter stuff this weekend that has the cargo load catapulted into the stratosphere. Every knitter I know has a knitting related luggage requirement, and every knitting teacher I know has an insane knitting related luggage requirement. (We won’t even get into the spinners. It gets nuts.)
What is piled by the door is just the textile artist equivalent of what a carpenter would need if they were going to have a shelf building workshop. Wouldn’t there be a pile of wood, three saws, a few books, tools? The amount of stuff that is going with me (considering that were I not a knitting teacher, my personal needs would fit in one tiny bag) is clearly, absolutely, the product of my profession.
This, this is what I was trying to say when a male acquaintance stopped by, looked at the mountain of needles, yarn, books, handouts and computer stuff and said "Wow, It’s really true about women and their packing."
Then suddenly I was trying to say "Dude, it’s not a woman thing. It’s a working knitter thing, and If I was a male knitting teacher, this pile would be the same. You should see what Franklin travels with, and Carson has bags of yarn and a human spine when he leaves to teach. This has nothing at all to do with being a woman. I don’t have these bags full of makeup and ballgowns… it’s work stuff. See that little bag? That’s my not working stuff. It’s three pairs of panties and some shampoo. There is not a single pair of shoes. Deciding that I have a lot of stuff because I’m a woman is like saying that you have a lot of free time because you’re a guy, instead of noting that your partner does all the childcare and housework." I was trying to say all that, but as usual, I couldn’t figure out what to say in the moment. I never figure out any response until either 3am or shortly after the offender has left. I was standing there, mumbling something about "knitting" and "work" and then he said "Well, have fun at your knitting girls weekend" and left, and I couldn’t say anything because my head was exploding.
Here I am, leaving for a speaking engagement and two days of teaching, and all my preparations just got drilled down to the following.
a) Women pack a lot of stuff when they go anywhere
b) Knitting isn’t a job for those who teach it – it’s a girls weekend!
Clearly, my friends, we have much work left to do, but it wasn’t done by me today. I find it hard to manage misogyny before coffee.