So I’m walking into the gym where I spin, and five or six women are grouped around a bike, with this expectant look, as if someone's about to have a baby. They look a little glum for such a special event, so I wonder if someone’s hurt, but that doesn't seem quite right, and I wonder if it’s just that the bike is broken. Maybe it’s just a look of expectation. Usually the black steeds are lined up against the back wall like stallions, waiting to be taken out for a ride.
I see then that something is sitting on the handlebars, wrapped in tissue paper, and I think it’s someone’s birthday. That’s cool. So I start to reach down to pick up a mat for my stead, when someone says there’s a card, open the card, read it to us, we wanna know what it says, it’s right there, in the box! And then it dawns on me that this is all about me, this is for me, and they are all looking like I should have known this.
Except I am dumbfounded.
For the record, spinning at a women’s gym is nouveau knitting: ten or so women form a semi circle, work intensely to rock ‘n roll, talk about what it’s like to teach children in an inner city school district, or how the traditional American Thanksgiving is going to have a touch of Brazil this year, or whether the woman who went walking topless on the Slippery Elm Trail should be arrested. Then we check our heart monitors, instead of the scarves we might have been knitting in previous times, and go home.
Except now there is a new thread: It turns out the packet wrapped in tissue paper is a single rose in a crystal vase, brought to the gym personally by a man I’d met once just, two days earlier. His entrance into my personal sphere while I was unaware is described this way by a woman who was there: he sashays into the gym, not like our husbands and boyfriends who cast down their eyes, and asks if you exercise here.
I don’t say anything. Then I say I am dumbfounded. Two women look at me—we’re doing a standing climb, hunched over handlebars while being exhorted by a computer printout sign that exclaimsIt’s your ride!—and say, you look dumbfounded. At the end of the class I ask meekly, what was he wearing? They hoot and holler at this.
And so the new thread weaves its way through each spinning class: I didn’t want to ask, but are you still seeing Flowerman? Party girl! Do you, like, need the fan turned directly on you? I’m living vicariously through you!
There are laughs and I knit my own scarf, telling about how before I met him I stared at a piece of paper with his name on it so I’d remember it correctly, or how some odd coincidences have me puzzled.
There is the nodding and the clicking of the pedals. Such is the way with nouveau knitting. Perhaps it’s a bit like nouveau journaling, weaving a garment out of the unknown strands of life, perhaps over time inevitably constructing someone’s destiny, possibly mine.