A swift and sudden understanding

I admit, right now this second that in all of the years that I have possessed a drivers license, from the time that I was 16 until now, I have never once honked the horn while driving. (I admit to honking that quick beep-beep with a wave that is the way everyone says goodbye to relatives) but never, ever have I found a need to honk the horn for anything else. Torontonians do not honk much either. This is not a very honky city. People yell, people flip each other the bird, people do that “I’m crushing your head” thing from the Kids in the Hall, but they do not, as a general rule, honk unless there is a pretty large problem. (Child in the road, failed brakes…someone who is trying to turn left where there is no left allowed, your purse hanging out the door, your coffee on the roof…You know. Big stuff.) We don’t honk much in traffic. It’s pointless. If you’re stuck you’re stuck, and there’s squat all that honking does to clear the DVP.

Even if you are a Canadian who honks, or if you think Canadians honk a lot, you will have this attitude smacked off of you when you get to New York City. These people honk. This baffled me. Why honk in traffic? Buddy would move if he could – the intersection is not full of cars that are only waiting for instructions. They are stuck! Honking changes nothing! New Yorkers honk in traffic. They honk when they turn corners. They use the horn not just as it is intended to be used, as a warning system attached to their cars, but also as an expressive form of uni-tone vehicular communication.

I didn’t get it. At all. I admit actually, that I thought all the honking was slightly rude.

Then I went to NYC for this trip. I spent the day with Ms. Too Much Wool herself (she took me to The Point, and to Purl both very, very nice.)and we went all over the place and we even took the subway.

Here’s another thing I learned. Americans come to Toronto all the time and are suprised how clean our Subway is. (We have sort of a thing about it.) I thought they were just playing to the mythology of a good, clean, polite Toronto. I couldn’t imagine it was that different.

Torontonians ! Behold the NYC subway and know why they are impressed!


It really is very dirty. You know how (if you live in Toronto) when you wait for the subway if you are very tired and all of the benches are taken that most days, if you had to and you were wearing jeans, that you would totally sit on the floor? You would not even consider that in the station I saw.

After our afternoon of coffee and walking adventure Cass looked at my itinerary and saw that there was 40 minutes allotted to go from midtown to Brooklyn, and she laughed. We spoke to the powers that be and changed it to an hour, and both of us felt better. We got in a cab exactly on time. We headed for Brooklyn, and then we hit Canal St. Traffic stopped. We moved by centimetres. Cars blocked up intersections, cars nudged each others bumpers, cars, cars, cars everywhere. All of them honking. At first it was amusing, this taste of real New York traffic, it was amusing until I noticed Cass’ furrowed brow, and I realized that we were going to be late to the event.

At this point, I believe that if one were to search for the exact term that applied to what happened to me then, I think what you would find would be the term “went buggy”. I flipped out. I started, when the taxi would inch hopefully forward 10cm to be gleeful. I would turn to Cass and say “WE’RE MOVING!” only to be crushed entirely seconds later when I realized that we were at a standstill again. I yelled “OH COME ON!”. I made fists. I bounced in the seat. I glared at other human beings and I taunted them from the rear of the cab. I made mental lists of people driving in stupid ways and I thought about writing down all of the license plate numbers of any idiot who was “Blocking the box”. (I don’t even live in this city and I know not to Block the box. Do these people not watch Law and Order?) I was frustrated. I was late, I was angry and knitters?

I wanted to honk.

I wanted to climb through that little barrier window of the cab and lay on it. I wanted to express my rage and frustration through the glory of the car horn. I wanted to yell “WHY ARE YOU NOT HONKING” at the cab driver. As 10 minutes turned into 35 on Canal street and Cass called and recalled the bookstore to tell them where I was, I vented my wrath. “HONK! HONK AT THESE PEOPLE!” New York Traffic reduced this non-honking pacifist driver into a raging twit who not only wanted to honk her self stupid, but possibly to drive over other cars. I get it now. I understand. I did not truly feel the pain, but now I do. I’m sorry New York. Really sorry. Honk until you feel better.

When I finally arrived. (Vaguely breathless from holding back all that honking) There were Brooklyn knitters, all waiting nicely. (I actually think that if you absolutely have to keep people waiting, that knitters probably take it better than, say…potters.)



First up? The very, very juicy and delicious Thumper, who graced me with a cuddle and few devastating smiles before beginning to de-compensate a little. (Way past his bedtime, poor wee lovie. Besides, he had a very big day.) He is the picture of heath and good nature and should be the poster child for vegetarian nursing mums everywhere.


Kate and I had a bonding moment showing of Icaruses (Icari?) She’s got a great picture. Aileen brought me Connecticut


Alison had a Mets sock…(I think she said Dave dyed it for her)


I saw Jenny (Goddess of the now defunct Copper Moth) and she is as wonderful as I remembered.

Karen and Valerie should have done a wardrobe check before they came. (They are both wearing the same tank top from Fiona Ellis



Then, oh then, we have proof that my children are wrong, and that there do exist in the world teenagers who think that knitting (and by extension, me) are cool. This is Ashley, just a little younger than my own Samantha….


And Casseen and Nina, just a little younger than Amanda and Meg.


(See that girls? See that? THEY wanted to talk to me. THEY were knitting. THEY wanted to hold the sock. I bet the also do all of their homework without anyone reminding them and never, ever leave clothes on the floor. )

Next up, the delightful Bakerina.


She was just as nice as you would hope, maybe nicer. Funny too.

When it was all over, Cass and I found a glass of wine, then a cab (much less traffic) and I fell over onto my hotel bed.

The next day was the Knit out. The Knit Out my friends, is huge. massive. Many, many knitters and wanna-be knitters and muggles drawn inexplicably to yarn. (Pre-aware knitters.) Hundreds. The sun shone, the knitters wandered and it was lovely. I met Jove


Fellow Canadian, in NYC for another reason, but still drawn to the wool. The lovely and charming Em


Clearly gearing up early for Knit like a Pirate. (Succeeding too. Her shirt was a huge hit.) Here’s podcast host Guido,


He’s a high enthusiasm sort of guy.

Yo! Cara and Kay!


Kay knows how I love her, but I was so overwhelmed that I forgot to tell Cara that sometimes, on bad days when I need a pick me up…I reload her blog page over and over, just to watch the header change. Try it. It’s uplifting.

Just to trip me out…It’s Amy!


I see Amy Wednesday nights at Lettuce Knit here at home, so having a visit with her in another country. Trippy.

There were more. So many. I’ll never get them all. There was ccavicch (wearing the same cool tee-shirt as Em), Julie (who I had the privilege of meeting twice in two days) Jenn, Liz (was it Liz?)

It was a blast. From there I hopped in a car and went up to Knitty City, a charming shop uptown. (Was it uptown?)

I took this picture early on before a lot of the knitters were there (I was starting to be off my game)


Then I took another one, because you can’t see Nancy in the one above. (WHOOPS – See what all these knitters do to me? It’s Caron in the green. Yarn fumes. I blame Yarn fumes.)


There she is! Right in the middle. (Nancy was the one reminding me to take pictures at all. Girl kept me on my game. )


A high point of my evening was meeting Naomi Dagen Bloom. She used to be the worm lady (I guess she still is.) and another author who appears in the first Knitlit book, but now she’s into HIV prevention for women over 50. It’s a good point, since many women rejoining the dating pool when they are widowed or divorced often have no sex-ed whatsoever. Clever lady. Lovely to talk to.

We had a lovely evening, all sunburned and wiped out from the Knit Out, and it was a terrific way to end a trip to NYC. Tomorrow (hallelujah!) the blog goes back to realtime. Whew.