Thursday, August 30, 2007

People Say The Stupidest Things!

It seems that every direction we turn, from our kids to magazines to TV to our friends, people are saying that we, as a culture, do not listen well. If you are having a problem with a partner it is because one or both of you don't listen carefully to what the other says. If your teenager is angst ridden it is because he or she is not understood by his or her parents. The bottom line is that we are losing our ability to communicate effectively by oral and aural means. Life moves at such a fast pace that people no longer eat leisurely meals together, gather around the hearth in the evenings, make an actual phone call. Much communication happens via "a quick email" or a text message. In both cases, vocal inflections and body language, essential elements in human interaction, are absent. No wonder people misunderstand or don't "hear" one another.

Having said all this, there are times when we are better off not listening carefully because quite often, people say really stupid things. Today was the day for "I can't believe s/he just said that" moments.

Thursdays are the day for Spirit of Knitting editorial meetings. We gather at our remote location - the local Borders bookstore. We really do get work done but we also knit, which, as you might imagine, peaks the interest of many who are strolling through the bookstore. Alissa was working on a sock today. A fifty-ish woman struck up a conversation with the three of us. "Oh look. Socks soar on two needles." (A reference to a book by that name. The woman then proceeded to tell us how she hates to sew things together - that she never makes anything that requires sewing seams. After a brief but polite conversation, she then said that she was heading home to finish the front of her sweater. Okay, if you are making a sweater front and you never sew things together, this could be interesting. No back? No sleeves? Or, are the pieces just set in place but not actually connected? Does she not realize how stupid this sounded?

Then, we were looking at a knitting magazine. Alissa came across the following in print: "a cucumber shaped box" Never mind the images that this conjures up. Let's think purely about the geometry of the situation. Angles. No angles. Cucumber-shaped box. Perhaps this is a square peg-round hole issue. No matter how you look at it, this description sounds stupid.

That's not all folks!

BK and I were sitting at a local coffee shop after doing a little set and prop work for Mash.. She was finishing the last few rows of a baby afghan that is nearly 36 inches square and was spilling off her lap to the floor. Her needles were flying in the hope that she could get it bound off before we met Mike and the girls for dinner. Again a woman who was 55-60 struck up a conversation. "Are you knitting or crocheting?" BK replied nicely, "I am knitting." With a burst of energy, the woman exclaimed, "I love to knit!" You love to knit? If you can't tell the difference between knitting and crocheting by the tools someone has in their hand and the look of the yard long fabric, are you sure you love to knit? C'mon. Are you listening to yourself?

Are people so desperate for someone to talk to that they will risk sounding like an absolute idiot just to have a real face-to-face interaction? Perhaps the woman from Borders and the one from the coffee shop could get together. They would have lovely conversations with one another. The two of them could explain to us the cucmber-shaped box. Then those of us who really do listen to what people say would not have to endure stupid moments like the ones that have dominated today. The fact that these three incidents happened all in a day scares me! Maybe the smart people will be out tomorrow. If not, I may have to borrow my daughter's Happy Bunny T-shirt that says, "Make the stupid people shut-up!"

Okay. I know I am sounding like a mean snob, but really . . .