Something you may not know about me is that I occasionally have panic attacks. I'm telling you this because it gives you some insight into this story I'm about to tell of my adventures over the weekend.
My cousin N had his birthday party on Saturday and since I'm not usually a fan of big social gatherings, I was a bit nervous about going. This is where knitting has become a big help in my life - my knitting and I are like Linus and his blanket. Anyways, since I'm not done my holiday gifts yet, I quickly ran through them in my mind to see which would be a suitable project to take. I thought I might be able to work on the Jaywalker sock, but then I remembered that I count all the time on that one, and didn't think that would work if I had to also talk to people. Most of the other things weren't suitable either for various reasons but I thought Mom's crocheted wrap might work, even though I hadn't started it yet, and didn't know what my gauge was, or what hook to use. But this is Christmas and I'm running short on time so I packed it up and threw in my notions pouch along with all my crochet hooks and decided I would get it started in the car. We left home and stopped for gas along the way, which was when I thought it would be best to get started. I dug around in the backseat for my project bag, and that's when I came to the horrible realization that I had forgotten the pattern. I had everything else one could ever need, but not the pattern. A mild bit of panic hit me and I found myself contemplating for a second whether I could knit a sock out of the mohair/silk laceweight. I knew I couldn't go to the party without my knitting, it was my coping mechanism. I had to have it. A quick look at the clock assured me that there was time for a stop at Michael's along the way, so that was the new plan. I felt much better and was so glad I had thrown in my notions pouch because it had my sock needles in it. I knew I could quickly run into the store, grab two balls of sock yarn and get out in time to still make it to the party as if nothing had happened. Once there, I entered the store and immediately got distracted by bags of sock yarn on sale in bulk at the door. After trying to choose colours and thinking of all the cute things I could make, I came to my senses and had a firm talk with myself about how I have enough yarn and do not need 6 or 12 more balls in my stash, and how the plan was to only get two balls of sock yarn to help me through the evening. I got myself back on track and made a beeline to the yarn isle where I proceeded to pick up four balls of sock yarn because I thought they were pretty, and justified it by thinking at least it wasn't 6. I didn't have time to feel guilty about it, so I started to make my way to the checkout and tried to focus on keeping my eyes from wandering over to the dollar bins. The dollar bins and I have quite a good relationship, I always visit them, but not this time - I was on a deadline here, I had to hurry. I couldn't afford anymore distractions. Now this is where the panic attack part comes into play. I guess with all the excitement of leaving my pattern at home and the yarn on sale at the door, and finding so many pretty colours to choose from when I got to the yarn isle, I got a tiny bit lightheaded, which was added to as soon as I seen the line of people at the checkout, and also with the fact that I thought I recognized the people now in line behind me (and it wasn't one of those good acquaintances either, it was people I would be a bit embarrassed to see me buying sock yarn to begin with - yes, I will admit that there still are times when I can feel a bit embarrassed about people knowing I knit, I'm working on it.) Okay, now if you have never suffered from panic attacks I will let you in on something, they are not reasonable and tend to make you think that things are way worse than they really are. They also can make you think irrationally. I'm telling you this because it will help you understand what next went through my head. First off, I decided to stand in a way that wouldn't allow me to make eye contact with the people behind me just in case they were the people I thought they were, then I tried to distract myself by reading all the signs and magazine covers around me to get my mind off the rising panic I was starting to feel. This helped for two seconds before I realized that looking all over the place was making me more dizzy and now I felt sick to my stomach. I quickly ran through all the things I had ate that day, and if I had been anywhere recently where I could have contracted the flu, which would make sense for the sick feeling, but I came to the conclusion that I had not ate any food that could have even remotely been bad, and I had not been around any sick people. I chalked up the feeling to nerves and told myself firmly to "get a hold of yourself." (In my head, don't worry, it didn't get so bad that I started talking to myself right there in the store.) Next I thought maybe the people behind me could see what I had in my hands so I turned a little bit more to the right so they definitely wouldn't be able to. That comforted me until I realized I was in front of them in line and would have to put the yarn on the counter at the checkout and then they would for sure see what I was buying. I couldn't just shove them under my armpits and walk out, no matter how appealing that sounded right now. I have to add here that these people were distantly related to me, so it wasn't like there would be a slim chance of me ever seeing them again. At this point I remembered I was paying with my debit card and would have to put it into that little machine since it has a chip and by now my hands were shaking, and for goodness' sake I didn't want anyone to know I was nervous, so now I was trying to will my hands to be still. It was at this moment that I suddenly realized I could not talk. The fear was so great in me by this time that I was now rendered speechless. This would be a problem when it got to be my turn and I had to talk to the checkout clerk. Now with my head spinning, my stomach doing flip-flips and my hands shaking so much that I was concerned I would drop the yarn, I had the overwhelming urge to throw the yarn in the air and just run for the door. This was also the moment when I realized that I couldn't get to the door without going through the line. I also started to think about the party again and how I had to have my knitting, I just knew I would be bad company if I didn't. Now was when the unthinkable happened (or at least it was the unthinkable to me). The checkout clerk on the right-hand side recognized me and yelled out, "so you're back for more, eh?" and I stupidly in my confusion held the yarn up in the air and waved it at her and yelled back "yep." Now if there had been any chance that those people behind me hadn't seen the yarn, they sure did now. It was then that I had a flashback to a few months ago when I had purchased a significant amount of yarn and checked out with this particular clerk and I remembered she had made a comment on how much I was buying and was surprised I could use it all up. I was purchasing yarn for my Christmas knitting, so you can sort of imagine the amount and why someone would be shocked to see me back again so soon for more. By this time I was praying I would just make it out of there without making a scene and preferably with the yarn. It was now my turn and I got the same clerk, who was very nice and talkative. While she was waiting for the receipt for the person in front of me to print, I felt this tug on my arm and looked down to see a cute little girl who wanted to talk to me. I said hello and asked what her name was and she said it was Sophia so I told her mine was Raili, and as soon as I said it, I realized that if those people behind me weren't sure if it was me or not in front of them, they would be now. I willed myself to not do anything else stupid and just get out of there as best as I could. The clerk now started talking about the big yarn purchase I made last time and wanted to know if I made it through it all yet, and I told her I had made a very good dent in it, but the real reason I was in here was because I left my knitting at home and was going to a party where I just felt I had to have it with me. Now I sounded like a crazed lunatic who horded yarn and had to take it places with her. Don't worry, it wasn't lost on me that those people behind me could totally could hear every word that I said. I then, in my nervousness began to tell her how I was going to this birthday party and it was a bit stressful and that the knitting helped me cope, especially when it was family and people you sometimes didn't like. (Remember, keep in mind that those people behind me quite possibly could be members of my extended family, who will now be looking at me in a whole new light next time I'm knitting at their get-together.) And then the clerk says, yeah, I remember you said that this, gesturing to my yarn, is what you do now. It was then that I realized that, you know what, yes, this is what I do and there is no reason to be embarrassed about it. At least I am being productive with my time and what does it matter how I choose to be entertained? At that moment I came to the conclusion that I really could care less what so and so behind me thought of me, after all, we weren't that closely related, and I never really liked them anyway. And it was also at that moment that I happened to turn slightly and lo and behold if it wasn't them at all to begin with! I finished my transaction and proudly took my yarn in its bag, wished the clerk a good night and strolled on out of there with a whole new confidence and a pretty good story to tell my Mom and sister on the way to the party.