Saturday, May 14, 2011

SHUT UP! I’M COUNTING STITCHES! (Or Why I’m Socially Challenged…)

Due to the fact that I need to drop dear son off at work so early, I often arrive at work 45 minutes before the start of my work day. I call this my spare time and I like to crochet. Sometimes employees will wander through the cafeteria and stop and ask me questions about what I’m doing. I know – I should be glad that people find my work interesting. I don’t mind when someone stops and asks a question or two, and I can share my enjoyment of crochet. But then, there are those OTHER inquisitive folks. Not satisfied with just a couple of short questions or comments, but they’ll continue to ask questions or give me a rundown of everyone they’ve ever known who “knits”. (People!! one hook – crochet: two needles – knitting!) I guess my level of annoyance is in proportion to the complexity of the pattern I’m working on at the time.

I remember one of my most distressing encounters with a curious passer-by. I was trying to crochet a Piglet – it was a difficult pattern with lots of increases, decreases, slip stitches and working beyond the end of rounds and moving markers to start your counts over again. I took a seat in the cafeteria far away from all distractions, sitting alone at a table by the window. I was repeatedly interrupted for 30 minutes by the same co-worker passing back and forth asking questions. Mind you – this woman was supposed to be sitting at her desk answering the telephone! Woman: “Oooh, what are you making?” Me: “Piglet” and shows picture from the pattern book. Woman walks away but comes back 5 minutes later – “Oh, did you make any of those other things in that book?” “Yes – Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger”. A few more questions and she leaves again – I start frogging back to where I was before I lost my place. What seems like 10 seconds later – she’s baaaaack – “How long will it take to make one of those?” Thinking to myself “The rest of my friggin’ life if you keep asking questions!” Saying out loud “Depends on how much time I get to work on it – anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks in my spare time”. Woman walks away – frog, frog, frog. She makes a few more passes and comments and I frog a few more times. By now, I’m holding my work in a death grip and gritting my teeth. But I stick with it and I think I finally have it – oh wait! Here she comes again! At that point, I stuffed the project in my carry bag and gave it up as a lost cause. At least while at work.

Would the average person walk up to someone sitting at an easel, painting in the park, and keep asking them questions?? I don’t think so. If I sit next to someone reading a book, I wouldn’t expect them to tell me what they are reading and what other books they’ve read and how long it takes them to finish a book. If I see someone wearing headphones and listening to music, I leave them alone. Is it just me? Am I so anti-social?

My good friends in my previous work location knew that I shared a table with them at lunch, but I didn’t take an active part in the conversation. I was listening, but I was busy counting stitches while crocheting. My friends knew that and they understood it. Maybe it’s rude to crochet while with other people – I don’t know. My friends were always aware that crochet is my passion and they never thought it was wrong for me to keep working on my project.

I don’t want to sound like a misanthrope. I really don’t mind a short interruption now and then. I do enjoy telling people about crochet and have even taught a few people how to crochet after they’ve seen me work. But when “Sorry to bother you” leads to a lengthy work-related conversation – well, there goes my crochet time and I’m not a happy camper. I can tell them that I don’t start work until 8 a.m., but does it matter? Noooooooooo…

I’ve had employees approach saying “I know you’re at lunch but…” and off they go, requesting job letters and vacation totals and asking if their uncle’s best friend’s cousin’s next door neighbor can come in to fill out a job application. I’ve tried eating lunch and/or crocheting in my car. They’ll knock on the window. I’ve had people stop me in Walmart’s yarn department at 8:30 in the evening and ask me benefits questions. Why do people think I’m on call 24/7?

Does anyone else have this problem? Am I just being a grumpy old woman? I guess I need to learn to be more tolerant. Or find a better place to hide.


  1. Oh my gosh, I remember crocheting an "Eeyore once, and your frogging and counting and frogging sounded VERY FAMILIAR!! I love him, but Eeyore never got done, and I don't know WHERE he is anymore!.. I do remember crocheting while trying not to smoke in front of company (family, actually!).. I mean, either you you want me to quit, or DON'T YOU?!!!.. Right?.. Nope! They acted insulted that I was crocheting instead of appearing to be focused strictly on the conversation. I AM capable of hearing and talking while I crochet, but I expected a little understanding when I was trying to keep my hands busy, not smoking, for THEIR benefit.. not even my OWN at the time!! (sigh) I don't know what people want; but when I'm faced with the toughest patterns, yes, I have to agree, I definitely need to concentrate... no talking! I don't think you're being too grumpy.. There just aren't a lot of crocheters out there (at least around my neck of the woods) that would remotely understand! As for me, I'd find a better place to hide!! (0; Hope you're having a great weekend! ~tina

  2. You are NOT anti-social...people in general are just very self-centered and inconsiderate of others' time and space these days. You asked if people would do that to someone that was painting....yes, they most definitely would. The fact that you wouldn't says worlds about you and it's nice to know that there are a few considerate and respectful people still around!

    I'm right there with you. I actually enjoy a quick acknowledgement and maybe even a question or two from someone...but after that it's like, "Don't ya see I'm in the middle of something already!?!?"

    My first thought was to ask if you could crochet in your vehicle instead of the break room, and then as I read down I saw how you've tried that. My only advice would be that it comes to a point where you are just going to have to politely, but firmly let them know that you are on break right then and really need to de-stress with your crochet, and that you can talk more about it later. As for the ones asking work related questions, let them know you'll be glad to answer all of those questions for them when you're back on the clock.

    I try really hard myself to be tolerant of others, but my tolerance is very short for those who don't show any thought or consideration for others.

    Good luck!
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