From the Blog

Conversations on the Streetcar

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My ride to work on the streetcar is exactly half an hour. If I’m feeling ambitious, it’s a good time to be productive.

I’ll sometimes bring a book, but I’m a little paranoid about what to read on the streetcar. I’m sensitive, because I know, myself, that I am nosy about other peoples’ reading material. I make an effort to indiscreetly see what book a person is reading. And then I wonder about their home life. And I secretly judge them.

So I don’t read a lot on the streetcar. Because I might have embarrassing reading material. And I don’t want nosy jerks like me judging me. Jerks!

But I will often bring a ball of yarn and work on a scarf. And it’s interesting sometimes to watch people watch me while I crochet. People have struck up conversations, and I have given impromptu crochet lessons on the streetcar. Sometimes people absentmindedly focus on me and the motion of my hands because it’s repetitive and simple and because I’m looking down at my work, it might seem like I don’t notice them.

Tonight, someone was watching me crochet a scarf, and he asked me if it was fun.

“Well, fun. It’s relaxing. It’s meditative.”

“I’ve always wanted to learn.”

“It’s amazing, the quality of your thoughts when you keep your hands busy.”

A woman, sitting behind him, asks me what I’m making. I explain that I’m making a scarf and that it’s really quite easy. But I need to hurry since it’s warming up and it will soon not be scarf weather anymore. And I talked about how knitting and crochet are “huge” right now. It’s like the new hip thing. Crochet and knitting. SUPER HIP.

“And cupcakes!” says another guy sitting nearby. “Cupcakes and knitting are the big thing.”

And the group of us talk about cupcakes and how popular they’ve suddenly gotten. Cupcakes have swept the nation! And I ask about a cupcake bakery I’ve seen…over by Ben and Jerry’s…I think? Another girl listening in confirms and tells me, yes, there’s a cupcake place over there. Minutes later, we go right by it and I point it out. And yet another woman says it’s fabulous.

So we’re a bunch of strangers talking about crochet and scarves and cupcakes and I’m wondering why the streetcar doesn’t serve cocktails.


  1. Cat lady's sister says

    When I see a woman crochet, I think, they must be a cat lady.

  2. Streetcar conversations are a lot different than bus conversations.


  3. Again, nothing like this ever happens on the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus (see former comment about hoo-ha spritzing lady). And horrifying, soul-crushing things happen on LA’s MTA line.

    Where the fuck did you move to, Munchkinland?

  4. Get a Kindle! I bought a Kindle e-book reader from and now no one can tell what I’m reading (I might even be reading gmail or dailykos).

  5. jen hunt-halper says

    The latest craze, I read, is to spin your own yarn. Kid you not. Read it in Woman’s Day.

  6. i don’t get the cupcakes craze. they are soooo easy to make, any fool can do it. so why do people go nuts buying them?

  7. i baked cupcakes twice (out of the box!) for the teenyboppers at school, when someone graduated. you would have thought i baked the taj mahal of baked goods the way they were scarffed down. amazing.
    Re: hiding your book. buy a few questionable paperbacks (charlottes web or deep throat are good) tear the insides out, leaving the front and back covers, and the spine. cover them with contact paper so they don’t fall apart. use them to disguise your current reading material. this way, if they are judging you (fuckers =)), they are judging you on FALSE information. i just love that.

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