Monday, September 28, 2009

Completely baseless assumptions

I sent some e-mail to a fellow knitter whom I've never met about a week ago, asking her for a teensy-tiny favor. To explain what it was all about is not worth going into nor particularly interesting, but trust me when I say that I did not ask for anything that would have put this person out in terms of time or effort, and that, in fact, what I was asking was of benefit to her. To my surprise, I received a nearly hostile e-mail in return. I replied (not in kind), received notification that my e-mail was bounced back to me for it had come from an e-mail account that only sends mail but doesn't receive it (another unfriendly gesture). I thought about sending yet another message to the original account, to see if I could smooth things over, for there had to be some misunderstanding. I wound up thinking it was a waste of time. Some people are just not nice and no amount of smoothing will change that.

This was a fairly nothing "event." Just because I'm writing about it doesn't signify that it meant or means much to me, but it made me realize how I have a strange assumption that all enthusiastic knitters are nice people. Does just liking fiber and making things with one's hands make a person nice? Obviously, I've thought so, even when confronted with evidence to the contrary.

As I was ruminating about this blatantly silly assumption, I remembered the last time I e-mailed a total stranger with a knitting question. That didn't work out too well. I had picked up a copy of a book with highly complicated designs in it and poor directions for how much (and what type) of yarn was used for making the projects. In spite of being able to figure out on my own what yarn to use, I thought it might be nice to e-mail the author and ask her. What did I get as a response? "How the hell would I know?!" I kid you not. I was so shocked, the only thing I could think was that this woman was having one hell of a bad day (or life).

I once drove four hours to pick up some things from a "famous" knitter, and she was so unfriendly that she didn't even allow me to come into her house for a pee break. I was handed the box of what I came to get right at my car and sent on my way. That's actually worse than the obnoxious e-mail comment, now that I give it some thought.

This happened many years ago, yet my belief that all knitters are nice has persisted. I have a deep-seated sense that anyone who appreciates the feel of yarn against their skin and the quiet pleasure of clacking a bunch of needles together has got to be a good person. It goes even further than that; I also have a bit of a prejudice against those who don't appreciate a nice ball of yarn and those who prefer acrylics to natural fibers. If someone picks up some yarn and holds it to their nose, I am sure they are truly wonderful. If they say "Ew! It smells like sheep!", well, they lose many points off my nice-o-meter.

Y'know what? Today I realize I'm totally full of it. I'm sure there are some truly awful people who love natural fibers and the smell of sheep on a damp day, just as there are the nicest people in the world who wouldn't wear wool if you paid them and can't sit still long enough to knit a pair of baby booties. My assumptions are, as the title says, completely baseless. And maybe I'm not that nice myself. I know more than a few people who think so.

But really, those folks are surely wearing ugly polyester sweat shirts, right?

Photo note: The yarn and photos in the Kindred Threads Etsy shop are more than lovely.


jmcleod76 said...

I laughed - not quite out loud, but with true delight - at your closing line. That was artful.

Good night, Julie! Thanks for the laugh.

BitterGrace said...

Funny post. I know I trip over my baseless assumptions all the time. Just recently, as I've gone through a tough time, I've been quite surprised by who's gone out of their way to be supportive, and even more surprised by who hasn't. I feel like an idiot for being surprised. I don't know if we ever can quite get rid of our prejudices.

Susan said...

Nurturing and knitting are not always hand-in-hand...nor are crochet and crotchety. I have my bitchy moments, but on the whole, I try to be nice. That being said...wool makes me itch! (There's alot to be done with this topic, but I won't needle you by spinning a yarn.)

Fabianna said...

I understand your assumption though. It is probably you projecting because you are probably a nice person and you like to knit. That is a common psychological thing that people do, projecting. So the way other knitters behave is secondary, really. Be happy that you like yourself and who you are. Does this make sense?