Friday, November 10, 2006

K.I.P.2 or Einstein Was Right

I did it again. I knit in public. Real public, this time. Knitting while I waited for parent/teacher conferences was public, but. . . still a closed community? Someplace where my comfort level was high? It was knitting in public, sort of. Yesterday I knit at McDonald's.

I should explain that after 20 years with children, any fondness I might ever have had for McDonald's has long gone by the board. I struggle to remember the times when I was little and a trip to that new place where the hamburgers or cheeseburgers were ready to eat was an adventure. The novelty over-rode the fact that the hamburgers and cheeseburgers were all the same, and they all had onions.

When a new McDonald's was built here in Hyde Park, I tried to hide it from my children, taking detours down side-streets, devising new routes to anywhere that might have entailed a sighting. Admittedly, a delaying tactic at best. In fairness, as McDonald's go, this one is pretty nice. It's just that it's still McDonald's.

One of the benefits of report card pick-up (read: bribes for not melting down while I talk to the teachers) is the child whose report card got picked up gets to choose dinner. I promise to abide absolutely by their choice. On Wednesday, John wanted oven-baked chicken and rice. Yesterday, Marco picked McDonald's.

Dinner at McDonald's has always seemed endless to me. I groan inwardly when they want a refill on their Coke. Drum my fingers on the table if they need to use the bathroom (almost a given, considering all that pop.) By the time they're half-way through their french fries, I'm making suggestions:

"We can take that home, you know."
"Want me to put that in the bag for you?"
"Are you going to finish those fries?"

They are perfectly happy to sit and watch the lines from and reform. To listen to the servers shouting out the order numbers. The parade of humanity that passes through McDonald's is, for them, a source of never-ending interest. I, sad to say, am worse than a little kid on a car trip.

Which is why I am so amazed at how pleasant dinner was with my knitting to hand. I didn't try to hustle Marco through getting the drinks (it never works anyway). Didn't care that they didn't wolf their food. Didn't start foot tapping while they tore open their third ketchup packet. Didn't start muttering about using the drive-thru next time.

Even more amazing, I didn't think twice about pulling out my needles. No, that's not right. I didn't think about it at all. No self-consciousness. No trying to half-embarrassedly hide what I was doing. No inner debate about pulling out the current red scarf and adding a few rows.

Not only that, we were done in record time. They have never gotten their refills so fast. Never been so quick in the bathroom. Never gotten in, out and back home so (for me) painlessly. Never mind that the clock said we'd been gone close to an hour and a half.

Huh. Relativity works.

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