On Piecework and Passing the Time
October 5, 2004
I was out shopping for underpants (whoops, sorry for that) when I happened across this little cardigan (not in the underpants department):
It’s two layers of mohair! So pretty together.
Knitted in Mongolia. Assembled in China. Bought in a giant suburban sprawl mall in Tennessee for the sale price of $42. I hardly know what to make of that.
I have been thinking about my reading habits of late. I used to be a great reader–read all the time, got nervous if I didn’t have a book going. Now, with all this knitting going on, I can’t turn the pages of a book anymore. I am missing books.
Last year a Cuban playwright, Nilo Cruz, won a Pulitzer for Anna in the Tropics, a play that takes place in a Tampa cigar factory. As the workers make cigars, one lector reads them Anna Karenina. Apparently this was a common practice–reading classics to make the piecework pass faster.
In the interest of having my own portable lector, I just spent an irritating half hour futzing around with USB cables because I wanted to be able to download audio books to listen to while I knit. The futzing led to a customer service phone call to audible.com, where, to their credit, they play audio books instead of Muzak while you wait, so I got to hear a good ten minutes of Charlotte’s Web which was a shrewd choice on audible.com’s part because they knew that nobody could be in a crabby mood after listening to Charlotte’s Web. It turned out that the fakey iPod audible.com sent me for listening to audio books is defective, but I didn’t even care because I was thinking about Wilbur and Lurvy and Charlotte and what a life-changing book that was for me.
I would suggest that it would be great to have a knitting circle with a lector like the one our dear pal Julia discovered at the Knit Cafe in L.A., but who would draw the short straw to read?
PS After some more poking around I learned that I can listen to Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress on my blogphone. Is this progress? How do those Mongolian knitters pass the time?