Friday, June 27, 2008

While you wait

A dear, sweet old lady sits knitting. Click-clack-click-clack. Her 79-year-old hands are as nimble and fast as those belonging to a 7-year-old Primark sweatshop worker. Click-clack-click-clack. The knitting needles are a blur of flurried activity. Click-clack-click-clack. She’s waiting for a blood test. She’s number 1265. The digital display beeps and turns over to 48. Click-clack-click-clack. The ball of wool in her lap shrinks to the size of a walnut. She reloads. Click-clack-click-clack. She finishes her jumper with a tight little knot. The jumper has a passable Michael Aspel face knitted on the front. She holds it up to the oohs and aahhs of the waiting room. Without pause for breath she starts knitting another. Click-clack-click-clack. The dear, sweet old lady asks if anyone has any requests. And soon she is creating a tank top with Amy Winehouse (no stranger to needles, ironically) on the front. Click-clack-click-clack. 57 on the digital display. Click-clack-click-clack. Now everyone is clambering to put in a request with the old lady. Number 63 misses his turn as he watches his Daisy Duke jumper emerge from the tips of those magic knitting needles. Click-clack-click-clack. An hour passes and everyone in the waiting room is sporting a hand-knitted jumper with a celebrity on it. Even the doctors have got in on the act. My consultant passes by looking quite pleased with himself, sporting a rather fetching wooly with Danger Mouse on it. Click-clack-click-clack. It’s one way to pass the time. Click-clack-click-clack. It’s important to have something to do whilst you wait. Click-clack-click-clack. I’m not much of knitter myself, although in my younger days it wasn’t unknown for me to make the occasional Action Man jumper or Womble scarf. No, when I’m waiting for my turn at the hospital I like to sort out my gas and electricity bills and other mundane domestic rubbish. Better to do it there than have it eat up my free time, I say.