I grew up in Detroit, six blocks from the State Fair. Our street was the most diverse in our neighborhood. People spoke in different languages, wore different kinds of clothes, and there were signs written in Arabic.
There are a few people who stand out in my memory. Of course I remember our neighbors and all of the kids I played with, and the boy who hit me in the side with a rock from his sling shot. I remember the man with the big husky dog with blue eyes. I remember Pops and his criminal family. I remember the old, old, old grandmother who moved in next door to us when Aunt Betty and Uncle Harold (not our relatives) moved out. I remember Peanut, who was five years older than me but more of a friend than a babysitter. I remember her parents (her dad was named Basil, like the herb, which I thought was really cool), her older brothers, her cats and kittens and dogs. I remember our tenants, and my parents' friends, including Jimmy and Judy and their dog, Bear. I remember the people who worked at the corner store.
And I remember the guy who drove a gold Camaro. He was real slick, wearing gold chains and styling his hair. I'm sure now that he was probably only in his early twenties, but when you're eight you have no idea. He seemed a lot younger than my parents, who were in their late twenties then. He stands out in my mind because he would drive down our one-way street (sometimes the wrong way) blaring his music. He played Middle Eastern music of some sort. Now, I knew about music in different languages--my family had some Polish music albums and I'd been around Polkas. I'd even heard Middle Eastern music on a public TV program called "The Arab Voice of Detroit." As far as I knew, music in cars only came from the radio.
It boggled my mind that Middle Eastern music could be coming from this guy's car. What radio station did he listen to? I had never come across these songs while I switched through the stations. One day it dawned on me that he had bought cassette tapes of this interesting music. In that moment, the world made sense.
This same kind of realization happens when I learn something new in knitting. The Somewhat Cowl is an example. I'd knit from the top down. I'd done raglan sleeves. I'd made sweaters. There was something about this knit, though, that just clicked. Sure, I increased too much on the armholes, and sure, I should have made the ribbing a little longer. But the sweater is still so pretty and impressive, and it was all done with no seaming. Wow. Now the world makes sense.
This is also the reason I can't settle on a new project. Nothing seems to live up to the hope and promise of learning to knit from the top down. I'm thinking lace, or maybe entrelac. Maybe I need a short, satisfying project to fill the void, like reading a magazine between books Interweave Knits is encouraging the lace, which I don't think I have the patience for right now. So, I'm stuck. I need someone to drive down the street in a gold Camaro intriguing me.