Don’t solve my problems, just talk to me
The other day I was on a 45 minute car trip with an acquaintance from the ward. And it came up that I’m learning how to knit, and she mentioned that she knits and I thought “Great. Here’s something we can talk about.” So I started talking about knitting and projects and then I mentioned something about how it’s hard that yarn can be so expensive. And she said that I needed to go to such-and-such fabric store and buy Lion brand yarn because it’s really cheap and comes in a variety of fibers. And that was pretty much the end of the conversation.
Only later did I realize why I had been so vaguely disappointed with the exchange: I really didn’t want my problem solved, I just wanted to talk about it. That’s what we do in my family, we sit around and talk about things – ideas, to be more precise. We don’t rant endlessly about the unalterable facts of life (that’s a pet peeve) although one is welcome to vent.
In my mind, the distinction is one of duration. A rant involves getting worked up about something that’s always bothered you, always will, and will never change. I swear some people actually enjoy being offended. I’m not one of them, and I don’t enjoy being around those who are. Venting on the other hand, is a one time occurrence driven by some recent event. It is done to family or close friends, for the purpose of receiving validation (yes, that was a horribly insensitive or dumb thing to say, you’re right to have been annoyed) and for the purpose of feeling better afterwards.
Anyway, I mostly like to sit around and talk about ideas. It’s easier to start out with the idea of a minor problem because that at least gives you something to work with – a bit of tension in a situation to tease out and explore, but not so much that strong emotions are likely to come into play.
A problem that I’ve noticed in my ward (and more generally, since moving to Illinois), is that I can’t find anyone to talk to! If I present a problem, I either get a glib solution, or some kind of vague comforting. If I mention that it’s tough being an “older” single LDS woman, I hear that I need to date more and go to YSA activities or that I shouldn’t worry so much because everything will work out OK. This is one of the main reasons I’m panicky about Melyngoch going on a mission. It’s not just that she’s been my best friend for more than five years (and therefore doesn’t need to be told the backstory in any given encounters) it’s that I still talk to her at least once a week, and I don’t know what I’ll do when that’s gone. (Don’t take this the wrong way, Petra, but I’m praying that you don’t get admitted into any more schools. Or at least that no one will give you any money.)
At any rate, I now give you four carefully composed, conversation-starting provoking responses to the statement: “Yarn is so expensive.”
1. Does that make knitting a generally more expensive hobby, than, say, tatting or cross-stitching, where one uses substantially less thread or floss?
2. Is it “regular” yarn that’s so expensive, or is it novelty yarn? (And do yarn makers develop novelty yarns just so they can have something to put a huge markup on?)
3. Yarn may be expensive, but it’s probably still cheaper to knit a sweater from expensive yarn than it is to buy a sweater made from the same materials. Plus you can design it and size it to your own specifications.
4. Natural fibers are a lot more expensive than, say, acrylic yarns. If you just enjoy the process of knitting, maybe you can stick to the cheaper stuff. Of course, maybe if something’s worth making, it’s worth making out of good materials. It’s a bit of a balance.
And those are just the ones I thought of myself. Imagine how much more I could come up with if I had someone else to talk to!