I have started bringing my knitting with me almost everywhere I go that there is even a conceivable possibility that I may get in a little knitting time. I bring it to family events, I bring it to work, I bring it to the doctor's office, I bring it to the movies. This past weekend I even brought it to a rehearsal for a concert I was involved in. It's a good thing I did too, because us trombone players had a lot of downtime while the director was working with the musicians that needed more help... Okay actually it was just that we didn't play at all between movements 6 and 12 but that's beside the point. The point is that I've been burned too many times in the past where I've thought to myself, "Now why didn't I bring my knitting with me?" So to avoid mentally kicking myself, I just bring it with me everywhere.
Which leads me to something that happened last week. There was a morning meeting scheduled at work, one of those where the whole division gets together and all the managers present updates on the quarter and we don't have anything to do except sit there and try not to fall asleep. I had accidentally-on-purpose not taken my knitting out of my purse before heading to the meeting, and as it happened we got there early for snacks before the meeting started, and I ended up having about 15 minutes to kill before the meeting started in earnest. So, obviously, I pulled out my knitting. I knit for 10 minutes or so and was finishing up my last row before I was going to put it away, when the Vice President of the division (read: the boss of everyone in the room which was 150 people or so) looked at me with interest and asked me what I was knitting. I told her what it was and that it was a Christmas gift for someone, and she said that was neat and remarked on me taking advantage of the meeting time to get it some knitting time. I asked if she thought I should put it away for the meeting and she said emphatically, "Oh that's up to you, it doesn't matter to me. You're multi-tasking!" I agreed and thought to myself, "Well, if the VP says it's okay, then it's okay!"
I blissfully knit through the meeting (which was a good hour long), and made some serious progress on the project. I should also mention that I managed to pay attention far better than I usually do because it was a simple project that didn't require any thinking, so my full attention was devoted to what was being presented. I even practiced knitting while not looking at my hands to show that I was actively paying attention. And it worked! I've never been so awake and attentive during a morning meeting. Usually I'm fighting off yawns, or daydreaming about being anywhere else, or fidgeting with my hands/pen/water bottle/anything else I can find.
After the meeting finished I went back to my desk feeling proud of myself for pulling off an hour of knitting during work hours and ready to take on the rest of the day. I even heard from a friend who works in a different division that some people near his desk were talking about some girl who was knitting in the meeting, and how it was smart and productive because they were all sitting in the meeting falling asleep.
The next day about two minutes after I got in to work, my leader (who hadn't been at the meeting the day before) pulled me aside to say that she had heard from her manager that I had been knitting during the meeting and how it was unprofessional and disrespectful to the presenters and she was shocked that one of her team members would do such a thing.
I couldn't believe it. I mean, I guess I can understand how they might interpret it that way, but I couldn't understand how me sitting there and knitting and actively paying attention was somehow worse than all the other employees who were sitting there and falling asleep. I did get a chance to explain that the VP had said she didn't mind, which got me off the hook and out of trouble, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to push my luck for the next meeting.
...However, I'll probably still bring it with me just in case I've inspired others to take up public knitting. We can take a stand together. Public Knitters Unite!