Knitting Circles: What the Hell?

I’m sitting at a Starbucks on an average day in the Pacific Northwest, waiting for my next class to start. The ominous monocloud has returned, looming over the plaza. I’m wigging out and it has nothing to do with the weather. This is normal meteorological phenomena. It’ll probably be cloudless and sunny tomorrow.

The real reason why I’m wigging out is because of them.

There’s a knitting club seated in the comfy chairs across from and around me. They’re knitting (indeed) and chattering and laughing and just being loud. To be honest, they’re not that much louder than the surrounding din of Starbuckers, but something about these women are inordinately grinding my gears.

What is it?

I’m still trying to figure it out.

On one level, they remind me of the suburban housewife-y lifestyle that I am trying to dodge for my future. The idea of spending the rest of my life flitting from mundane activity to mundane activity terrifies me. That’s not a joke. Living in the suburbs attending to a breadwinning hubby and 2.06 children, while going to mommy clubs ain’t this gal’s idea of a happily ever after. (Not that this girl believes in “happily ever afters,” but excuse my jadedness.) Back to the knitters – they were irritating the hell out of me. Can’t a girl read in peace at a busy metropolitan Starbucks? I mean, really.

However! Yes, there is a “however” to this tale.

The true reason why this little social gathering was bothering me so much – this took me a while to see – was because they were just that: social. Flabbergasted, my conscious mind huffed and puffed up her chest. What? What does that mean?

Subconscious: It means you’re a social retard.

Conscious: Hey, that ain’t very PC to say. And all right, I may be relatively introverted, but I can hold my own in social situations.

Subconscious: But when was the last time you voluntarily attended one of these so-called “social situations”? Sitting around in the student government office eavesdropping on people doesn’t count.

Conscious: *sputters* Well, I never… There was that one time with the people at the place… with the stuff…

Subconscious: Admit it. You’re socially retarded.

Conscious: I am not. I’m fine just the way I am.

Subconscious: I didn’t say you weren’t fine. You’re just socially inept. You’re uncomfortable with socializing and pretend to be above all that small-talk-chitter-chatter. It’s a defense mechanism. Stop being in denial.

Conscious: I am not in denial!

Subconscious: …

Conscious: That’s not fair.

Subconscious: Admit it. And then write a blog post about it.

Conscious: Screw you.

Subconscious: And stop pretending that guy sitting off to the side in the green and grey argyle isn’t cute.

Conscious: Goddammit, you’re right. I- Hey! Stop it!

The main point is that I’ve come to realize the reason why I disdain many social gatherings is because I feel left out. It’s not even that people around me don’t like me (for the most part). A lot of the time, it’s just me sabotaging myself, making excuses about why I can’t or shouldn’t participate. The irritation I feel when I witness events like knitting circles is not superiority – it’s inferiority. The pride in being lonely and supposedly self-sufficient is nothing more than a defense mechanism. Instead of fixing my loneliness by reaching out and being social, I’ve developed a way of shrinking back into myself and shunning everyone else. It’s like being the fox in the Aesop’s fable of the sour grapes. I can’t reach the grapes, so they must be sour and bad anyway.

But what’s so sour about them? The knitting circle is a group of women, who come together to chat and unite in something they all enjoy doing. What’s so wrong with that? Nothing. It’s perfectly fine. It should be refreshing to see hints of communal interaction in our society of individualism and solitude. Isn’t it funny how we’ve been virtually trained to laugh at super nerd herds [see: Big Bang Theory] and appraise the self-serving, self-made man [see: any top dog CEO]? Community is community – barring hate groups (I’m lookin’ at you Westboro Baptist Church) – and we need to encourage people to band together, not disparage it. This is something I’m slowly, but surely working on.

We need to stop yucking their yums and get over ourselves:

What yums do you yuck? What yums of yours do other people yuck? Are you more of a social butterfly or a reclusive hermit crab? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

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13 thoughts on “Knitting Circles: What the Hell?

  1. I can relate to your contempt of social gatherings. I’m so self-conscious in social situations, I would rather avoid them altogether…I’ve always wondered if these communities had some sort of a secret handshake or language I wasn’t aware of. The bonding and chemistry I witness between these people seem so real for them, but so far away for me to have for myself.

    I don’t usually like to label myself, but I can say I identify mostly with “outcast” or “reject.” That being said, while it was an interesting article you linked to, thought provoking for a critique of a sitcom, I disagree with the author of the Big Bang Theory post. I don’t laugh at the nerds or pity them. I do find their jokes funny, which is why I laugh. I can also find myself relating to just about every character on the show (except for the parents). The creators of the show are quite nerdy and misfits in their own way actually. I also loved Abed on Community and enjoyed that show as well. I do have more to say, but this comment is turning out to be quite a ramble. Sorry.

    • Something I’ve found fascinating is that socializing is just like any other skill – it takes practice. There’s a theory that it takes 10,000 hours of practice at something to be an expert at it. While I see it more as a loose guiding point rather than a rule, it makes sense. I obviously can’t speak for you, but growing up, I didn’t go out and play a lot. I did all my socializing in school and that was pretty much it. So it’s like a downward spiraling positive feedback loop: less practice -> no better social skills -> less socializing -> less practice, etc.

      To be honest, I’ve only watched clips of The Big Bang Theory – not my kind of show, but I could see where the writer of that post was coming from. It may be true that you laugh with the nerds more than you laugh at them, but the show does revolve around making fun of nerdom, it seems. And, embarrassed to admit it – I’ve never watched Community 😛

      Thanks for the comment and don’t apologize for “rambling.” I love hearing others’ views. Cheers!

  2. I do have a tendency to vocally yucks peoples sports yums. lol. I really don’t root for a team so every team is fair game. 🙂 But I can’t help it with golf right now. While other people try to either yuck my clothing for work choices for being kinda casual or my music since it’s usually older than the current stuff that’s playing. But I usually try to yum their yuck after their yuck attempt. 🙂

  3. I know its a paradox but loneliness is as comforting as it is scary. My worst nightmare and retreat is when I start thinking about future and conclude that I am living in a small house with a great assortment of books living all alone. Sometimes it scares the hell out of me and other times it comforts me. Loneliness is a defense mechanism but sometimes it feels so ingrained in me that it is hard to imagine life without it. I gave trying to rid of it a long ago, but best of luck to you!

    • Alone time is very comforting from time to time. Being able to relax and drift off into your own thoughts and not have to worry about maintaining others’ realities and expectations… Finding a balance is tricky because, as you said, living alone is a sort of nightmare. Having a handful of people to rely on is nice, but so is personal quiet time 🙂

  4. Hermit crab. Although, I have always managed to make a relatively close-knit group of friends that I do socialize with on a regular basis, but I still don’t meet many new people. It’s all, “I have friends. We go out every weekend.” Oh, yeah? Then when’s the last time you even came close to dating someone? What is it? Almost three years now….? *sigh* Fail.

    • Meeting new people is scary. Most of my friendships were initiated by the other person, usually an extrovert. I’ve found that people willing to put up with my introverted ways are definite keepers.

      No shame in being a hermit crab – at least you do get out with your friends! But alone time is heavenly, too 🙂

  5. Ugh, but I detest chit-chat & small talk. The whole inanity of the process…probably because I am not very good at it & can never think of anything to say, so I’m the silent one sitting there with the cheerful smile on her face. Still, ugh. Hate it.

    • I’m with you there. Small talk can be really painful. However, I’ve found it to be constructive of good budding relations from time to time. It is tough coming up with things to say, haha. “So… crazy weather, am I right? No?”

  6. We’re complicated creatures SOS! I know that conversation with your subconscious too well, it runs just like mine 😉 On the subject of knitting groups I’ve never seen such a thing but I think I’d have reacted the same way!

    • Complicated – and yet so simple in so many ways. We have our drives, our preferences and desires, and we either move away or toward them. We’ve become so wrapped up in thinking about what we want way too much that we know longer are conscious of what we really really want.

      This knitting group seemed to be having a great time and the items they were making were pretty darn neat, too.

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