For the look of Relax in a worsted weight yarn, take a look at Worsted Boxy.

Scared Straight, Man: A Cautionary Tale

alpacasilk2.jpg
Dear Kay,
Jeez, I’m still jumpy after yesterday’s trip to the movie palace with four boys.
We’re waiting to turn from Woodmont onto Valley Vista or Vista Ridge or Valley Forge–the road that is known mostly as The Way to the Mall. I’ve got my turn signal on, sitting at the bottom of a hill, waiting for the traffic to clear so I can turn left. Above the din of the fellas I hear a shriek of tires, behind me, rising fast, and I look in the rear view mirror to see a maroon Saturn (a car, though it might as well be a planet) heading for us. Not heading for us–it’s righttherebehindus. In slow motion I think: I’ll pull over (but my arms can’t work), and I’ll honk my horn (to alert somebody? who? the car behind me with the shrieking tires?) that I’m there with these four children in the car. It’s too loud–the screeching tires can’t possibly stop before hitting us–and I brace myself for the impact. Can’tbelieveit, I think.
It doesn’t happen. I look into my mirror again (were my eyes closed?), and I see the sheet-white face of a girl, very young, with eyes wide open. She has what looks like a 1982-era frizzy perm. She is frozen. She can’t believe she didn’t hit us. I can’t believe she didn’t hit us. I look across the road at a car waiting on the side street, and the poor gray-haired woman in a Subaru can’t believe she didn’t hit us. She holds her cheeks like they’ll warm her palms. I’m about to have a stroke, and my hands shake as I steer the car through the left turn we were waiting to take.
The boys didn’t even hear the shriek of the tires; David thought it was Clif howling the way he often does. If I hadn’t explained to them what had just happened, they wouldn’t have even known.
I would bet a hundred bucks there was either an iPod or a cell phone not far from that girl’s hand. I’m not saying this was some kind of omen (IT WAS AN OMEN, Y’ALL), but it was scary enough that I hereby swear that I’ll keep my phone and my iPod in my purse whenever I’m driving. Because the fact is, the sheet-white face could have been mine, albeit with lank and ungroomed hair, and the carful of boys could have been somebody else’s loud crowd going to the movies.
I don’t mess with my gadgets when there are kids in the car. But by myself, I have been known to take a call on the fly. Or to dig around for a playlist. How horrifying to have to say to a police officer, “Uh, I was just skipping that Patty Loveless song I don’t really like.”
On a Lighter Note
Thanks, everybody, for such a choice smorgasbord of knitting ideas. And thanks especially for Smartypants Meg BRAGGING about knowing where the White Stripes are recording in Nashville yet somehow failing to say where. That’s just great. As IF I would go ask for an autograph. Or a photo. Or a lock of hair, sheesh. It’s not like I would knit a freaky tribute sweater or anything.
OK so maybe I would. But I’m going to let that little idea marinate for a bit while I work on that shrug. I’ve been patting a lone skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk like it was my long-lost cat. (That’s it above, shade 130, Mandarin, for the curious.) Lush stuff. And the shades are gorgeous–there’s not a color I wouldn’t want to use for this. How often can you say that about a yarn?
Love,
Ann

49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. Ooof–glad y’all are all ok. There is nothing scarier than that moment of seeing it about to happen and not being able to do anything about it.
    Patting that Alpaca Silk, though–that’ll soothe you if anything will.

  2. My heart rate increased just reading this. Glad everyone survived. I hope this close call is all anyone needs to remember to be safer drivers. I look forward to seeing the shrug.

  3. In Oct of 05 a lady went barreling through her stop sign and barreling into the side of my minivan, sending the van (with me and my 3 kids in it)into a ditch and onto its side. Windows shattered, gas leaked, ambulances,police and fire engines arrived, and we had to climb out through a window. The van was totalled ($22,000 worth of damage) but we were all wearing seatbelts (it’s practically part of my religion to wear a seatbelt – even more so now) and we came away with barely a scratch. Well, I had things that ached for months but nothing serious. Also, the lady that hit us and her companions were fine. To this day I have no idea how she could go through her stop sign and hit us but I’d bet big money she was distracted by something like a cell phone. Yep, big money.

  4. Something similar happened to me recently too, but the car was coming from a side street and barreling towards us… it was our drive home from the airport our first time in the US after nearly 2 years.
    I see so many people talking on cell phones while driving and can’t believe it’s still allowed in so many places. So dangerous!

  5. It’s against the law in this country, (UK) unless you have a hands-free phone. If you are caught, you get a hefty fine, and points on your licence (automatic loss of licence when you get to 12 points). You can only use it if the engine is switched off and car is stationary – you can’t even use it in a traffic jam……
    Pleased your are all OK – and that you are doing THE SHRUG – see my comments on doing it in the previous post….

  6. Wow! I’d still be shaking.
    My ipod and phone stay in my purse while I drive because I am far too uncoordinated to be able to deal with either of them while driving. (There, doesn’t that make you want to come drive in my neighborhood?)
    As for freaky tribute sweaters, at least you are not knitting a Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon sweater. Because that would just be pathetic.

  7. Driving sure has gotten scary with all the extra little geegaws that you can get or carry in cars today. I’m so glad you and your passengers are safe and sound.

  8. Scary, scary! I’m glad you’re all okay.

  9. Jeekers, I hope the movie was great enough to make up for that. Can’t wait to see the shrug.

  10. jeez, delete patty if you don’t like her, lol.
    glad to hear everyone was ok, that is always frightening.

  11. Very scary. I’ve heard too many of those crashes recently for anyone’s own good. Glad you are all okay.

  12. That’s a chilling story and it made me think. Thanks for sharing and I’ll be careful.

  13. I recently saw an experiment on cell phone use while driving. The conclusion: talking on your cell phone while driving is actually more debilitating that being drunk. Kinda scary, huh?

  14. YEP its gotta be the cell phone. You HOPE that people are not that clueless and blind.
    I was hit by a teenager with my kids in the car, he ran a very very very red light. I was hurt, the car was totalled, but the kids and spouse were fine. And in September, I was rear ended by an SUV, I got a huge black eye that took more than 2 months to heal, and I even slept through my birthday!
    I would put big $$$ on cell phone use in all of these.
    But same way, i am only a bit angry at the people that caused the accidents. Anyone can make a mistake; I have had near misses myself.

  15. Mmmm, Blue Sky Alpaca Silk. 2 skeins in a lovely brown (Mocha, I think) jumped into my stash at Christmas and I don’t have any idea what they want to be, but they are lovely to fondle.

  16. In seventh grade, we had
    Amber Black
    Amber White
    Amber Brown
    Amber Wilson
    Amber Wiley
    Until someone was driving down the road, an empty, clear road, on an empty, clear night, and went to push the skip button on the cd player. And rolled the car over and there are not so many Ambers anymore.

  17. So glad you’re ok. Shudder.
    Oh, and a Meg? Who knows where the White Stripes are recording? Have you met this MEG who knows about the comings and goings of the WHITE STRIPES? Because…well…even famous drummers could be knitblog commenters, you know.
    Ahem.

  18. You just had to post the link so I would go and look, huh? Beautiful stuff. I do love all the colors, too. Now I have to go and buy some. they’ll thank you later, I am sure.

  19. Oh heavens, glad you are all OK! I’ve had one or two of those close calls too, and that feeling stays with you for a long time.
    Love the alpaca silk, too!

  20. Oh, geez. I suppose this isn’t the place to admit I missed a stop sign yesterday, huh?
    I bet the girl learned a lot, and will be much better from now on, and I hope that’s worth the price of admission.

  21. I’m so glad ya’ll are okay! I fully understand the whole slow motion thing, I was rear ended (doing 55 at the time) last summer and I swear, I still cringe when I get in the car. We are having a huge problem with kids here in PDX that like to text message while they are driving!!! Text messaging…not just talking now..no..they have to text message too. I’m just going to learn to take the bus.

  22. Oh my goodness, that post gave me some bad flashbacks to an accident that nearly killed my aunt. Same story, waiting at a stop to get onto a highway, car behind her barrelling down a hill. And that was from the days before iPods and cell phones! The funny thing is, you can’t believe the number of times I have had callers get irritated with me when they know I am in the car and I don’t pick up my cell phone. Thanks for the reminder that I’m right on this one.
    Shrug (and pettable yarn) is the right choice.

  23. So glad you didn’t get hit! I was hit last July and am still battling the after affects. At least I didn’t have kids in the car.
    Do the shrug. Do it :) I bought the kit for myself for Christmas last year but haven’t started it. It’s next on my list. Maybe I’ll quietly knit along with you and send you “encouragment rays.”

  24. Glad to hear you’ll all right. In the pre-Ipod era I once saw a Walkman wearing man crossing the street get killed when a truck went into reverse by accident, so yes, distractions should be avoided while driving — although how anyone can ever guard against becoming distracted by passengers, I don’t know. And I’m sure kids are constitutionally unable to be perfect while in the car; I know I was.
    That shrug is a lovely thing and I have ocnsidered knitting it myself but shrugs are not flattering. The model’s body issues are that she’s an A cup and has no behind; I suspect ours are different.
    That apricot yarn is gorgeous; I want to move there.

  25. De-lurking to be the 25th (?) person to say that I’m glad everyone’s okay.
    Now entering re-lurk mode. :D

  26. Glad everyone is fine. One time I thought I’d be snazzy and use my cell and I almost ran a stop sign. Never again. My dad got rear-ended once, and now he doesn’t make left turns in traffic. He goes out of his way to avoid them completely. Don’t start doing that..it’s a bit bonkers.

  27. I agree with LoonyTick. I scanned all the comments to see if anyone else had picked up on that, and I was going to mention it if nobody else did. Hmmmm. . . . . . Does Meg White knit d’ya think?

  28. I’m very much taken by the idea of the White Stripes tribute sweater. I want to see it! I wish it was real already. Oh well. Guess I’ll have to make my own.
    And I’m very happy that the woman stopped in time. A split second, and your whole life changes. I live in Salt Lake City, and that’s been driven home a lot lately.

  29. Saturns have damn good brakes. I know because I own a Saturn and living in Chicago I’ve had to stop on a dime a time or two.
    It doesn’t have to be an ipod or a cell phone that distracts you. I was driving with a friend on Sat. and she said, “Look, they’re building a new DSW [a discount shoe store],” and I glanced away for an instant, an instant I swear, and suddenly, there was a car stopped in front of us–a whole line of cars stopped in front of us–and I slammed on the brakes and I thought, “There’s plenty of room, we’ll definitely stop before we hit that car,” but I was driving someone else’s car and its brakes aren’t like mine and we did hit it. No damage to the car in front of us and only cosmetic damage to the car I was in. But still–scary.
    So, beware of new shoe stores as well.

  30. Glad you weren’t hit and that you didn’t pee in your car.
    We regularly get semi’s hauling behind on our bumpers and if you can think of anything to scare them straight, let me know, would ya? Apparently forcing a car with a baby in it to drive on the shoulder of the road (thank God it was wide enough) with her nose beside the bumper of the SUV in front and her trunk beside the front grill of the semi isn’t enough. If the driver of the SUV hadn’t noticed and sped up (80kmp in a 60kmp zone) I would have run out of shoulder.

  31. Hope that teaches her a lesson. The driver should not be anything other than driving. I mean, a phone can even distract one from their knitting for heaven’s sake. So glad you guys are OK.

  32. My Dad recently put a GPS system in the car that has Blue Tooth capability. My daughter took the car one day and activated the blue tooth on her phone. Dad called her to find out when she was coming home and it scared her to death. So much so that she went right into the guard rail on the other side of the road. $2000 in damage. Dad feels guilty. (as he should!)
    Gadgets have no place in a moving vehicle if you are driving
    I’m glad everyone is OK :-)

  33. ouch!….these wake-up calls add a little more gray hair. grateful that you can breathe a sigh of relief. “stuff” happens in a heartbeat. hugs to you and yours!

  34. OK, I’m quivering inside because I once WAS hit from behind with a carful of girls. It wasn’t bad, just a rough tap really, but… but then there was the time many, many years ago (waaaaaay before the days of cell phones) when a young fellow totaled the car I was driving, smashing the trunk into the back seat, thankfully on the other side from where my baby brother was sitting, or my brother’s legs would have been crushed.
    I am so glad the girl managed to stop. So glad, Ann. Whew.

  35. Oh, the colors! Someone who must love me gave me four skeins of plum that I take out now and then to admire and dream about. Imthisclose to committing it to knitting.
    Thanks for the reminder that we all need to keep our attention on the road every m o m e n t–I’m deeply glad only your nerves were shaken. What movie did you see?

  36. That happened to me once ‘cept I wasn’t as lucky. A mile from the US border, returning from Baja, in one of the nastiest sections of Tijuana and pow. No brake shrieks, nothing. The guys was drunk as a skunk. Our two girls were fine, thank God, as were we, but the surf board that was in the back of the Bronco hit the back of my head, dinging both it and me. Months later, my husband was still digging my hair out of the end of his surfboard.
    I’m so glad you’re fine and you don’t have to dig anyone’s hair out of anything.

  37. Ann – glad you are A-OK, and the kiddie pies too. The shrug looks luscious…let us know how it’s going please!

  38. Not to enable or anything, but Kpixie.com has that shrug as a kit on sale right now. . . No affiliation, but it might be worth a look. . .
    Glad you’re ok Ann — and everyone else too.
    My kid just had his first accident – for young drivers, it doesn’t take much in the way of distraction when it’s paired with inexperience. (Everyone seems to be OK but the cars. . .)

  39. I knitted a shawl from Knitting for the Holidays for my grandmother as a Christmas gift–the Wisconsin Stole, I think. I substituted the Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in an icy blue. It was a gorgeous garment. Used 8 skeins and would knit it again in a heartbeat.

  40. So glad everyone’s ok! Cell phones in cars are the devil (says she who uses hands-free but still dials).
    My mom got in an accident a few months ago because a garbage truck driver was his on cell phone with his boss. POW the magic trash arm on the front of the truck comes down on her car, somehow pushing her into the car in front of her. Even better? When she called the company about it, the boss says, “Yeah, I already know. I was on the phone with him when it happened.” Since he’d tucked it away before the cops arrived, sadly no ticket.

  41. SO glad you are all safe. Scary.
    I meant to comment on the entry yesterday about the shrug…but got distracted by kids….
    I have that shrug pattern and started it last fall, out of Silky Wool. I couldn’t figure out the pattern and the sleeves seemed really long (I always have to shorten the sleeves a little) and I was using a completely different gauge yarn. Couldn’t make it work. I love it though, so I am sending you good vibes to make it work and maybe I will be inspired to start over.

  42. WOW! That is SO scary! I am so glad you never got hit! That would have been SO TERRIBLE!
    I love your blog! It is always so interesting! It was the first blog that I started reading once I decided to combine knitting with the computer.

  43. How frightening!! That happened to me one time – I was paying attention to something my daughter was trying to show me and almost hit the car in front of me. I vowed never to be distracted by anything while driving again, but as time goes on . . . well, one forgets. Thanks for the reminder. And I’m glad no one was hurt!
    I lerve that Silk Shrug pattern!! I am adding it to my list of things to knit. I’m on the “slidey side of life” myself, Ann, but I think that design is age appropriate and kind of funky at the same time!

  44. Wow. Wow! I’m glad to hear you’re ok! Car accidents and almost car accidents are terrifying. I should know, I’ve been in five!

  45. Eek! Glad to hear you and your loved ones are OK. No distractions in the car when you’re the driver! I learned that lesson when I totalled Mum’s car as a young driver getting distracted by something my brother said. Less than 5 minutes after I’d picked it up from the mechanic…

  46. Glad that you are ok. What a frightening situation. Many of us have been there, unfortunately. I’m guilty of almost doing that, too.
    I am entrenched in my moderne log cabin but am looking forward to my next projects from your book. I need help restraining myself to not start a new project until I finish this blanket. HELP!

  47. Bless your guardian angel.
    My cell phone message mentions that I can’t talk right now because I’m away from the phone or driving. I hope I can spread the message.

  48. A couple of years ago I was driving home and saw police cars at a junction. Got home, no-one there. It was my whole family (OH and 3 kids) in the car that got rammed from behind at the junction and the police were clearing up. Thankfully they were all fine and I’m so glad I didn’t see our smashed up car before seeing 4 crash survivors all walking and talking. Huge amount of hassle and money to replace the car but no-one injured.
    LOVE that shrug and the silk yarn.

  49. Whew! So glad that girl learnt a non-disastrous lesson. And I’m taking a note, myself.