Monday, August 21, 2006

Old men and the culture of fear

On Friday afternoon I was heading home from my volunteer job at the Midwives Collective of Toronto. It wasn't rush hour but it was busy enough for me not to have a seat between St. George and Broadview stations.

No biggie. I was knitting a pair of simple socks for a girlfriend that are long past due while I stood - I've blocked out the world by plugging myself into the iPod. Life is good.

I feel a knocking on my upper thigh and from the corner of my eye I see a cane retreating into the tight and righteous grasp of a man older than death. I unplug and ask if everything is ok. Old Man River proceeds to tell me that KNITTING ON THE TTC IS ILLEGAL. I cannot be knitting on the TTC. IT IS ILLEGAL.

The fact that I've been knitting on the TTC for years now doesn't phase him. The pussy pony purls that I'm using to knit the sock only inspire a demonstration of how my 2mm plastic needle could pierce his skin, go through his rib cage, and STOP HIS HEART DEAD.

At this point, I'm trying desperately to restrain my giggle and my sarcastic responses about how I can barely stick the needles through the wool never mind his angry chest - I tell him that if it will make him more comfortable I will put my sock away (we're also at my stop).

This is when the gaggle of Indian Grandmothers who have been giggling throughout the exchange, weigh in with their opinion that he could do more damage with his cane than I could with my sock.

He looked both shocked and appalled that so many women seemed to think that they were right. It was excellent.


Carol said...

I love it! Too funny. I wish people would mind their own business. Besides, what a rude old man. If it happens again, I suggest that when he touches you sith his cane, you immediately yell " stop touching me you pervert!" or some such. Could be fun. Just sayin..

tapeheads said...

Friday was obviously a banner day for public transportation!
Also, I agree with Carol on the yelling bit. It would certainly be entertaining for the rest of the passengers.

Steph said...

I admire your restraint. It must have been very difficult. You're not really one to keep quiet (which is something I like about you).

I had midwives from the Collective for both my births. Say hi to Elisabeth and Tasha for me next time you're there.

denny Mcmillan said...

Manners. you showed manners miss. More than I would have done, to bad you didn't have your T.T.c. knit-a-long button on, you could of stuck that on him!
luv denny0x0xx0

Martina said...

Power to all TTC knitters! Protest the use of canes!! I would have been one of those women!! Then again I might have offered to demonstrate to cane man how unleathal the knitter stickks really were!! ;)

Kathleen said...

Um...holy crap. I'm with Denny, you were way more polite than you had to be. Good for you. Let's hope he never gets on a subway train with *me*.

Andrea said...

That's too funny.

Realistically though, I did stab someone once with a 2.25mm needle on the streetcar. By accident of course. It was poking out of the side of my bag and we did a turn too quick and she fell into me. I felt bad about that.

Tammany said...

Wow. That's too funny. If we had safe public transport here, I'd knit on it all the time, to hell with old men. However, I think knitting needles on the IndyGo busses would just encourage further violence in the fabulous city of Indianapolis. (I mean, your story just proves that non-knitters have no idea that they couldn't actually hurt someone with them.)
Andrea, I think you're guilt free. If she fell into you, it's technically her fault.

Not An Artist said...

Good lord, it must be old men bothering people day. This morning while waiting for the streetcar one came up and proceeded to point to the picture on the front page of the Sun and exclaim "That a bad man! He killed that little girl!". He seemed put off when I coldly told him I didn't care (its not that I don't care exactly, I'm just sick of hearing about a murder that happened 10 years ago in another country, especially when a Canadian mom can drown her own (not a tiny pageant queen) son in Lake Champlain only a few days ago and not even make the front page)

ps: I would have told your old man to fuck off, so congratulations on being a kinder, gentler person than me

double ps: I saw you from the streetcar today walking from Broadview along Dundas and briefly considered hanging out the window while shrieking JEN!!! at the top of my lungs but I was in the middle of a row ;)

triple ps: wow, is this like the longest comment ever or what?