Monday, August 24, 2015

Boreal, the beginning

Gauge, you fickle mistress. This is the beginnings of Boreal by the always-inspiring Kate Davies, which I am knitting in a hell-for-leather attempt to anticipate colder weather with joy in my heart. It may or may not be working--there is, as yet, no way at all to know whether this pullover is going to be huge, tiny, well-fitted but too long/short, puckery, otherwise dodgy, or perfect in every way. This isn't my first rodeo, but every time I measure some part of what I've knit so far, it tells me something contrary to what it told me before. It looks like the only thing to do is to continue thrashing my way through the charts, trusting in the genius of Kate and in the almighty power of blocking. Fingers crossed.

I am reminded of the (true!) story my dad loved to tell about the night his two cop friends let the blind man down the street drive the police car. You want to hear this story! Okay: down the block from my childhood home lived a blind man named Butch. He was known to all as a sort of savant--you could rattle a handful of change and he could give a pretty good guess, and he seemed to recognize people before they spoke to him. He was so good at that one that if he'd had any irises, I might've suspected he could see a little, but his eyes were completely white. So Butch is walking home in the dark late one night, tapping his cane along the sidewalk, his face tilted toward the sky, as always, and possibly whistling to himself, when the local constabulary, a kindly pair of old-fashioned town cops, come upon him. They look out for him, though he seems hardly to need it. One leans out the police car window.

"Hey Butch, you okay?" they ask him.

"Oh, yeah, just heading home," says Butch, tapping along.

"Want a ride?" they say. It's a small town, and they are not busy.

"Yeah, sure," he says. A few beats go by. "Hey, slow night tonight?" He knows it is, he can hear all the nothing out there in the country.

"Yep. Roads are pretty empty."

Butch seizes the opportunity. "Say. Can I drive?"

"Are you crazy?"

"You just said there's nobody on the road. Come on, I always wanted to drive a car. I won't hit anything."

They probably thought about it for a second. Looked at each other. I won't tell if you won't. "Okay." He gets in the front seat, they teach him about the pedals. A few hair-raising blocks later, punctuated by terrified laughter, they arrive at his door. He thanks them, gets out, taps up the front steps. A lifelong dream, fulfilled.

That's a little how knitting this sweater feels.