Monday, April 26, 2010

I am the Green Hat Knitter

Despite what is often assumed about people who are performers, I am a terribly introverted person. If I got to pick a super-power, I would pick invisibility over all others, no contest.  It's not that I don't like people - generally speaking, I really do -  it's that I would prefer to be on the sidelines, enjoying the world and the people around me by observing them rather than interacting with them. 

I am also a person inclined towards routine, which means that many people whom I've never met have become recurring characters in my day-to-day life, our lives briefly intersecting as our schedules cross. The ones that work on my floor, or go to the gym at the same time, or grocery shop late at night. I look forward to seeing them, and years ago started naming my favourites in my head. They're friends I've never met, and that seems to suit us both.

Dr. McSqueaky works on my floor, so named because of an unfortunate pair of runners he replaced almost two years ago. I am convinced he speaks several languages fluently, even though I've never heard him talk.

Giant Dave and his Entourage (three young clinicians who favour scrubs in solid primaries) are always leaving the coffee shop just as I'm walking in. They are there so reliably that if I miss them, I have a moment of panic, convinced that I must be late.

In my marathoning days, Red Shorts Man, Granola Jim and The Rain Woman and I would cross paths on my bread-and-butter four-miler, and my Sunday long-run training group and I could always count on seeing Silver Fox, Blond Floozy, Big Bird and The Hello Guy. (Hello Guy was our favourite...he was an older, chubby cyclist in a white helmet who, no matter how many lanes of traffic separated you, would wave and yell "Hello! Good Morning!" until you returned the greeting with equal enthusiasm.)

Since Kevin and I bought this house last November, I've started most work days with a new group: the people who ride my bus.  It's a pretty diverse group, mostly professionals and students on their way downtown, but a few stand out as always.
Early on, there's the Poet Laureate (curly mustache, round glasses, beret) and Scott the Smoker. Scott the Smoker just looks like a Scott to me. He reads sci-fi novels at the rate of about one a week. I haven't decided yet if he's a computer programmer or a junior high science teacher, but it's definitely one of those.
Halfway through the ride we pick up French Formula (40ish, suicide blonde, perfectly sculpted bangs). I think she is completely indifferent to her job, but in a positive way somehow, and I would bet big money she volunteers somewhere on weekends, probably with kids and/or animals. I like her a lot.

The Earth Mother transfers at the same bus stop as me. She wears her hair up in the most fascinating assortment of combs. I've sat behind her trying to figure it out. She looks at the teenagers on the bus like she understands and is slightly amused by every feeling and thought they are having. She commented on a fair-isle mitten I was knitting once, and told me she's more of a spinner than a knitter. We just smile at each other now.

I can't believe it took me this long, but it occurred to me recently that my fellow commuters can see me, too, and might be playing the same game. Their knowledge of my entire existence on this planet is, like mine is of theirs, constricted to 22 minutes, five times a week.  To them, I am that black-haired girl in the green hat. I am always wearing headphones (listening to books, or, if I strangle a giggle, Lime & Violet). Sometimes I have a backpack (gym stuff) or a red briefcase (meetings out of the office), and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I'm at the bus stop in plenty of time, sometimes I run half a block in heels. 

Other than the headphones, only one thing is constant: I'm always knitting.  A sock, or a mitten, or, during the Knitting Olympics, a grey cardigan. I'm sure that's what would stand out - it's what I would notice. An entire life, boiled down to five pointy sticks and half a sock.
She is the Knitter in the Green Hat. And for 44 minutes a day, she is everything I am. 


  1. I like your take. I do this too, with the people in my neighborhood when Hubby and I take a walk. There's the cigar guy, the tree lady, the crazy dog lady, the runner (always running, no matter when we are walking), and the porch sitters, to name a few. . .

  2. I'm also someone who's happiest as the observer. I'm pretty shy and independent but fascinated by everyone around me. I stumbled on your blog when exploring some twitter lists related to Winnipeg. I'm also an adult onset knitter so your name caught my attention.

    I'm shy but recently realized that there are likely alot of people even shyer (is that a word) than I am and that if I never speak up I'm missing out on alot of great friendships... so I'm making a point of commenting on things I find on the web I like. I blame this bravery on cbcradio3. (plus on my blog so many of the comments are spam, others might appreciate a genuine comment here and there too)

    Maybe I'll speak up next time I wave at the silver haired gardener (I'm imagining gardening for her for some reason.)crossing the street when I'm on the way to get the kids from the bus.


  3. ahhhh.. my fellow capricorn. On my morning bus ride into school I occasionally meet Hat Man. He wears an assortment of hats - at different times: A crisp black top hat, a black bowler, or a 3 cornered hat. He's very tall and quite proud of his hats. I keep waiting for him to push the envelope and wear something red. Thanks for this!!