20 July 2007

what to knit at the opera

We did it! We survived 17 hours of opera AND enjoyed it. For the past 4 days we have been spending every evening at the Met watching successive installments of the Ring Cycle.

Somehow James and I spend a lot of time in dark theaters mostly watching movies or operas. This affords a lot of knitting time but adds the complication of darkness. At the movies this is usually OK, the seats are large and deep. If you need to see what you are doing you can wait for a light part of the movie and hunch your head over to see your knitting without bothering other people (unless of course you are knitting an octopus near an asshole).

The opera however affords less space than one get on an airplane and it is often full (definitely sold out full in the case of the Ring Cycle). There is little elbow room, little leg room, AND if you are sitting in the cheap seats way at the top, the slope is such that anything above chest level gets in the way of the people behind you seeing the stage.

Things you CAN NOT knit at the opera:
1. Large things like sweaters
2. Things on double pointed needles, it makes the people next to you nervous that they will get poked
3. Things that require you to look at your knitting
4. Things that require you to move your arms a lot (to move stitches)
5. Things that are not very wide and require you to turn your knitting a lot (this often leads you to bring your knitting up too high or over to the side to far.

This rules out a lot of things. Unfortunately I have the problem of quickly falling asleep in dark theaters unless I am moving. Therefore, to get through 17 hours of opera I HAVE to knit.

The first night I decided that perhaps dishcloth knitting was the best choice, Even though it requires color changes and slipped stitches I thought I could probably feel the stitches instead of looking. I think perhaps I was not being careful and lifted the knitting to far to the side prompting the man next to me to lean over and say, "I'm sorry, but that is really distracting." This was so sad for me. I thought, "how will I go through 17 hours of opera with no knitting?" So, I started practicing very discrete knitting on my lap. It was brilliant, James didn't even realize I was knitting. It took a long time though and hurt my arms a little.

The next night James and I switched places and I ended up next to a French lady who began talking to me about knitting and how much she loves to knit. Score! The sum total of nights one and two (with my lovely parrot assisting):

Night 3:

Night 4 was the trickiest. I ended up sitting next to the French ladies husband who perhaps did not appreciate knitting as much because he switched with her after the second act. Then in the third act I realized I had a fever and did not want to knit anymore. But then I started falling asleep. So Night 4 produced:

Lessons I learned about knitting at the opera:

1. It helps you stay awake
2. It might annoy the people around you, apparantly more so if they are male.
3. I can fix dropped stitches in the dark.
4. Maybe when the opera is sold out I should only knit during intermissions so as not to annoy people around me.

The opera was great but I never would have made it without the knitting (so it is a good thing I was sitting next to a nice french knitting lady). The most hysterical part of the entire experience is that we were by far the youngest people there (by decades almost). In fact many people kept asking James, "are you a musician?" Because they couldn't figure out any other reason that such young people would be there. When surrounded by so many old and older ladies I was the only one knitting. Perhaps this has something to do with one's sense of propriety, or the women's movement which makes many older women not knit or definitely not knit in public. And it is probably true that One Does Not Knit At The Opera. But I still found it amusing.

Gris-Gris burps.

1 comment:

paige said...

Did you know that men used to do a lot of knitting? They'd knit themselves socks while they were out doing the lonely job of watching sheep graze. If only you'd known you could have informed the knitophobes at the opera.