Thursday, September 28, 2006

Half a sock with built-in aromatherapy.

I was standing at the bus-stop knitting a new sock (plain and satisfying toe-up short-row; Fortissima Socka in a pretty colour-flecked marled blue). Waiting... knitting and waiting... knitting and waiting,... and knitting... There is nothing so good for the public transit experience as a nice happy sock-in-progress to make the trip pass pleasantly. I'm in my happy place.

Every couple of minutes the door of the adjacent Prohibitively-Exorbitant-Fancy-Coffee-Chain franchise would open, and the most amazing warm and spicy enticing aroma waft over me at the bus-stop, as I'm waiting... and waiting... until I couldn’t stand it anymore, and being cold and damp (and completely devoid of willpower), I made the excruciating decision to risk missing the bus which would surely arrive while I’m inside the Coffee-Shop-of-Unconscionably-Expensive-Joe and ducked in to order my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season.

In my own economically minded way, I chose the largest size cup, as it’s only half a dollar or so more than the medium, which is only half a dollar or so more than the small, and so I feel I’m getting a bargain here. In my own special little world, the small cup will make me feel ripped off: That’s way too much money to pay for a [totally unnecessary decadent treat that only remotely resembles] coffee. The largest size has the attraction of all economy value-packs: buy more, get a deal! [Sure, you can drink the Big Gulp coffee. Just make sure you know the location of all the bathrooms on your route.]

I smugly exited the Egregiously-Priced-Purveyor-of-Syrup-laced-Caffeinated- Confections a paltry $5.85 (Canadian) poorer than when I entered, and feeling oh so virtuous for denying myself the sugar-and-fat-laden baked goodies lined up behind the glass (“no, thanks, just the *coffee*”) to find the bus considerately pulling up to the corner for me to board.

I flashed my bus transfer, smiling apologetically as I climbed in for not bringing the driver a coffee too (next time I’ll get her order in advance), and planted myself comfortably in a seat, *coffee* warmly embraced in my left hand and my purse and knitting bag in the seat on my right. As the bus was two-thirds empty I felt no moral compunction about my bags taking up a seat of their own and this way I could safely enjoy my beverage and then pull out my knitting without fear of elbows or needles causing bodily harm to my fellow passengers.

(You can see where this is going, can’t you?)

Several stops later, the bus pulled into a station platform and most of the passengers exited at the subway juncture to continue their journeys underground. Then, a small horde swarmed into the bus, and a game of musical chairs ensued as the new passengers jockeyed for position to the accompanying strains of the engine roar, and we pulled out of the station to continue on westward.

So far so good. I was still comfortably ensconced, beverage in one hand, baggage and knitting on the other side. Until I found myself in the indignant glare of a woman parked in front of my seat, communicating clearly in the universal unspoken language of bus commuters: “ahem – do your bags need a seat, too?” [Never mind that the bus was still one third empty and there were several vacant seats at the other end of the bus. This woman made it very clear with her pointedly raised eyebrow that she needed to assert her right to sit in the seat beside me, the one then currently occupied by my purse and my knitting bag.]

(This is where the music starts to play real creepy like.)

Being a generally agreeable sort who plays well with others, I foolishly proceeded to make room for the nice lady, so I reached over to move my bags to the floor and my lap, the lid promptly popped off my ridiculously priced coffee-flavoured concoction, the sticky liquid sloshed out and (yes, you guessed it) right into my knitting bag, dousing my sock-in-progress, a couple of other projects, various balled yarns in tow in case of attention deficit, as well as several printed patterns I had brought for eye-candy and project-planning. Whereupon, for no reason I can ascertain, the kind lady decided she no longer wanted to sit beside me, took the now vacant seat across the aisle, and avoided my eyes for the remainder of the journey.

"No good deed goes unpunished," quoth my DH sagely.

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