Friday, October 1, 2010

Once a teacher, always a teacher

wooden woman sitting with yarn of wool

I arrived in Stuttgart this evening, where I'm holding a seminar tomorrow. Yes, I am to be let loose on the educators of Stuttgart: I'm trying to get all the crazy out this evening, so I take to the podium tomorrow with a modicum of respectability and
soupçon of calm.

I arrived in the middle of full-scale demonstration at Stuttgart's main railway station (more about it here). Because I've been so busy, I haven't read a newspaper in days, so I did think it a wee bit odd that I was escorted out of the train station by armed police in riot gear. I mean, I like to think I have a few fans, but even that seemed rather extreme - especially since 50% of my regular readers (Mammy and Daddy Gingerbread) aren't even in the country. But I was bundled into a taxi and sent on my way with so much as a "how-d'you-do", so my delusions of grandeur and overblown importance were quickly shattered. Thank you, Stuttgart.

It seemed the perfect end to an otherwise bizarre journey anyway: when I got on the train in Nuremberg, I immediately unpacked my packet of Rolos, yarn, hook and iPod. I was about to plug in and hook up, when a young woman plonked herself down beside me.

"Oh! Can I sit here?" she said, already unwrapping her scarf and undoing her jacket.
See, here's the funny thing, gentle readers: I think I have quite a stern-looking face. I think I look rather strict - maybe even forbidding. But obviously I've totally misjudged my own features: if I am sitting in an empty train carriage, the one other person who gets on will want to sit next to me. Not near me. Not in front of me. Next to me. Rubbing elbows and making doe-eyes at my Rolos.

Within seconds, the young lady had launched into a long chat about who she was, where she'd been, where she was going. She gasped for breath and said,
"Do you mind if I eat something? It's a vegetarian burger."
"Work away," I said easily, treble, treble, double treble, treble, treble.
"I'm-a-vegetarian-I-don't-eat-meat-if you-ate-meat-right-now-I'd-throw-up - " gasp for breath "- but-you-can-eat-meat-if-you-want,-like-if-you-have-a-ham-sandwich-or-something - " gasp "I'm-not-that-extreme-but-my-friend-Markus-he-says - "
Chomp, chomp. Burger gone.
"Hey!" she said suddenly. "What're you doing?"
"I'm crocheting," I said. "I want to make a hat."
"Wow. Hey. Wow. Oh, wow. That's cool. Where did you learn that? I can't do anything like that. Wow. That's so cool. Hey. Wow. Why do you do it, anyway?"
"My great-aunt Christina taught me when I was seven or eight," I said. "And I do it because it's fun. And because I'm a bit hyperactive, I'm a bit of a fidget."
Deep breath. "I'm-hyperactive-too,-like,-really-hypeactive-I-mean-I-have-that-syndrome-thingy-and-I'm-totally-hyperactive-and-I'm-not-good-at-school-'cause-like-all-my-teachers-say-I-need-to-concentrate-more-and-I-try-but-I-have-this-condition-and-it's-attention-deficit,-you-know?"
I nodded and gave her a smile.
She grinned and then, serious, whispered earnestly, "And I talk too much."
"That's okay," I whispered back. "I don't mind at all."
"Can you show me how to do that?" she asked.

Luckily, I'm a Crocheting Boy Scout. Be prepared? I am. I whipped out my extra hook and yarn, started her off on a scarf, showed her how to do some double crochets and some slip stitches - and off she went.
"You're picking that up really quickly," I said, genuinely impressed.
"It's really weird," she said, the yarn wound over and under her fingers, "'Cause everyone says I don't learn things quickly at all."
"Well, you have a natural talent for this," I said. And she really did.

Half an hour later, the train drew into her station and she handed me back the yarn and the hook.
"Take it," I said. "Keep going, you're doing so well."
Beaming, she stuck the hook and yarn into her handbag, grabbed her scarf and jacket and scampered off down the aisle of the train.

I settled back in my seat and recounted my stitches. Suddenly I became aware that someone was staring at me. When I looked up, the young woman across the aisle was gazing at my crochet longingly. We made eye-contact and smiled, and she seemed about to ask me something when her boyfriend - who'd been watching my impromptu crochet lesson with deep suspicion, - pulled her into a slurpy kiss, distracting her from my luvverly yarn.

But I got my own back. When we got off the train in Stuttgart, I waited till he was busy with their luggage and hissed, "There are loads of tutorials on Youtube."
"Great," she whispered and gave me the thumbs up.
I'm a crafting guerrilla.


Gumnut said...

You are an angel and deserve a hug (I'm sure Mr G will oblige for me long distance :D).


(who, honestly, is no where near as nice)

- said...

What a day!

Susie said...

You're a crafting guerrilla making men on trains feel threatened. Freud couldn't have made up that last encounter ;-).

What a fantastic thing to do, that first woman's probably finished her scarf by now and is casting about for things to make cosies for. What might you have created?

Darlene said...

Go You! Spread the crochet love. :)

Gracey is not my name.... said...

You go girl!

Anonymous said...

I love your Kitty-Cat Baby Size afghan. Can you please give the amounts of yarn needed in each color. Thanks.

The Gingerbread Lady said...

Hello Elisabeth,
Thank you for the compliment. In Germany our yarn generally comes in 50g skeins, so I use approximately three skeins of colour A (the one you start the first two rows with and the same you edge the blanket with) and two skeins each of colour B and C. I always have yarn left over, but I simply save the leftover bits for the next blanket and make multicoloured kittycats!

Jenny said...

Love it!

Anonymous said...

LOL! Crafting Guerilla? Awesome!!

Sondra said...

This is one of THE NEATEST posts I've read in a loooong time~*THANK YOU!* for sharing it and for being YOU!

Could you imagine us meeting up on a train? LOLOL! It would hafta be empty, else we'd offend everybody with all our subject matter... ~snicker~ (((((HUGS))))) sandi