Knit one purl two

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

Making good use of the public transit system I see a lot of things that annoy me, amuse me and make my heart glow with warmth and hope.
I  yearn for the days when we chatted with our fellow passengers. When we shared a laugh at the antics of small children. When we exchanged notes on the latest happenings in the neighbourhood and then on to solving the problems of the world.
Now I can't even get the time of day.  Each person is immersed in his or her own personal environment. I-pods, cell phones, video games.
I listened to one passenger talk the entire length of the street car ride on her cell phone.  In a loud voice. Sharing her very personal life with all the passengers.  Now, I thought to myself, when she hangs up does she want our opinion on how to solve her problems?  After all, she shared them with us. 
But no, she didn't hang up.  My stop came.  She disembarked right ahead of me.  It was a very busy intersection. Five-way lights. I waited as the light was red for my crossing.  Then I couldn't believe it. There she was half way across the busy intersection on a "red" light, still talking away on her cell phone.  Standing next to me was a Transit employee and we both held our breath unable to believe our eyes.  When she got to the other side I said to the Transit employee "I'm going to tell her when I get to the other side what she just did". "Don't bother," he replied, "it is hopeless."
But I disregarded his advice and upon reaching her tapped her shoulder.  She said excuse me to the person on her cell phone and looked at me.  I said did you realise you just went through a red light in a busy intersection talking on your cell phone?  She laughed and said "did I?" then continued her cell phone conversation.

I give up.  Should have taken the advice of the other witness.
The next day on that very route a mother and child got on the street car.  They sat across from me.  I glanced over.  What a pleasant surprise.  The young girl sat down, immediately pulled out some knitting.  Not a video game. Not a cell phone. Some very complicated looking knitting. 
I was so startled and pleased a smile came to my face. I watched.  Knit one, purl two.  She was so engrossed and knitting so fast. I said to her mother, "I haven't seen anyone knitting for a long time, let alone a child." She replied "Oh, she has been doing it for sometime now. She learned it in an after school program and hasn't stopped since."
I replied, "This is a good example why we have to keep these after school programs."
For the rest of the ride I kept thinking how good these programs are. How given the opportunity you never know what you could be interested in.
I smiled as I pictured that young girl so vigorously knitting. 

My Parkdale.