[excerpt from previously unpublished journal of the knit-to-the-sea at a bench in Bellingham, WA, begun last May 1, 2012. Happy Thanksgiving, friends!]
May 8, 2012
Today someone sat on the bench with me for the first time: G. She was dressed up, freshly showered, on the way to a PTA meeting. She watched the cars go by, noting that many cars are slowing down and trying to go around the knitting. I found it touching how much respect people have for the handicraft. We talked about how few people stop to chat as a reflection of how little time people have. I told G. we need people like her to balance the rest of us “nuts” out. She said that she loves her stay-at-home mom life, and the fact that she has time for people and PTA meetings. We need each other, she said.
A car went by, and the driver yelled something. A profanity? I am living in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in town but they don’t have time to greet their neighbors. Money rich, time strapped. And also, so much fear and control. Living from car to garage to house with blinds closed. It really is time to think about the impact that our car dependency is having on our neighborhoods and communities. I liked imagining a neighborhood where everyone walked or bicycled, where people knew each other by face if not by name…So far, the friendliest people have been the stay-at-home moms, and the retired people…I’m struck by the way we go out of our way to avoid interaction with each other. Yesterday I talked to a friend on the bus. She shared what an eye opener it was when she could no longer drive due to health problems. She said up until then, she had driven through town but she hadn’t seen it, or known what was happening.
G. noted a driver who drove fast right over the knitting with her eyes straight ahead who hadn’t even noticed the knit line. I get guilt feelings when I bring this up. It’s like the great unspoken rule that we don’t talk about cars as a society, that car culture is a given. A man asked me if I was concerned about the line getting run over and I said, “It’s inevitable.” A father and his daughter stopped to ask me what I was doing. One lady with flowers said, “That’s a nice place to knit” as if there was nothing unusual going on. I’m thankful that the knit line is narrow, that it’s curling itself into a rope. I hope it’s strong enough to withstand the tires! I have decided to hide a camera in the bushes and try to capture some footage of the cars slowing down. It’s like a psychological speed bump. I love that this project is about slowing down, and that drivers are slowing down for it.