Prescient observation about the massive amount of fiber available in the Bay Area, or tongue-in-cheek commentary on the general attitude of the populace? Who can say? (Then again, it’s entirely possible that girls would be much warmer towards a rock star. People tend to be a lot nicer when they meet someone notable. As the philosopher Penny Lane put it, “Famous people are just more interesting.”)

So I went to Stitches West. I have to say that I feel the event is more geared towards those with a much more outgoing personality or a much deeper pocketbook than I have at present. I also feel that after a couple years of hearing so much about it, I think I expected it to be more… climactic than it was. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy myself; in fact, quite the opposite. I got to fondle lots of gorgeous yarn and fiber, I got to goof around with my best friend, and I got to take a spin on my dream wheel (a BlueBonnet Thimble) while getting a much-needed drafting lesson.

There were some things I wanted to do that I just couldn’t. I didn’t have the means to take any classes. In fact, my low cash flow situation was at the forefront of my mind, and admittedly not helped by the fact that I was essentially only there to attend the marketplace. (And definitely not helped by overhearing someone at a booth being given their total of over $700. I realize that’s my own shit I need to deal with, and that it’s not anyone else’s fault I’m in a tight financial situation. If anyone could be blamed, it would be my ex-husband, but truth be told, if he hadn’t peaced out on our marriage, I probably wouldn’t be on this side of the country anyway.)

I also didn’t get to meet the people I wanted to meet. I’m not the type of person to go up to someone and introduce myself. Historically, I have had no problem meeting people I essentially only know from the internet… I’m just more used to actually knowing them, and having actual conversations where we share ideas and get to know one another. But walking up to someone and saying “hi, I’m a fan” is a very foreign concept to me. (And the one time I tried that, I felt as though I had been iced out. Maybe it was my imagination, or my ever-present shitty self-image playing tricks on me, or maybe it was a case of them being sick and tired of people coming up all day and saying “hi, I’m a fan” and just unable to muster up any enthusiasm. I suppose I’ll never know.) And the thought of interrupting a group conversation, or following someone around for the opportunity to talk to them, both seem incredibly gauche. I’m sure people do it, but I’m not sure I could without feeling cheap, or like some kind of groupie. (Not to say that’s what all fans are, but that’s what I’d feel like trying to force a meeting like that. It’s not essential to me. After all, I’m not going to form lifetime friendships with them, and it’s not like I need to see them in person to let them know I appreciate their work.)

I suppose it’s like most other things in that you get out of it what you put into it. But my worry (which is backed by original research) is that I wouldn’t get out of it what I put into it: that I would bring a ton of money to spend and later reality would sink in and I’d think “great, you spent all that money on all these ‘special’ skeins, to add to your other 5 dozen ‘special’ skeins. And you still don’t have any more time in your day to knit most of them.” (I wonder, if you can have whatever you want without even trying, what makes anything special?) Or that I would make an effort to try and meet a designer or dyer or podcaster, and they’d think I was boring and not really worth wasting time on.

It was with these dark thoughts that I continued my weekend in San Francisco. I had a great time, when it was just myself and Alex. But when interacting with anyone outside our relationship, I just felt… superfluous. I felt as though I could have been stabbed in the face, and the general reaction would have been “would someone get this bleeding asshole out of my way? They’re blocking my parking spot.” Maybe I’m too used to the South, where people are generally friendly towards strangers (and there’s more room to park). And I’ve spent a lot of time working on my ability to be friendly towards strangers, and I spent a lot of time over the weekend feeling as though that effort was a waste of time.

All told, even though the food was good and I ended up with some gorgeous yarns, I was glad to get out of the City by the Bay. The beautiful landscape was small consolation for just feeling generally… small. Truth be told, it reminded me a lot of the way I felt last time I spent the day in Asheville, but way more intense. At the time, I had the feeling that I should just spend my boring suburban money and leave the city so as not to disturb the interesting people in their delicate embryonic state. This time, I remember yelling at the city “If I can’t park here, I can’t spend my money here!” And soon afterwards, I got the distinct impression that the city didn’t need or want my piddling, insignificant amount of money. And they damn sure didn’t want my pleasantries or small talk.

I still feel displaced here in SoCal. I feel the same way when I go back to the Upstate, and even though I haven’t gone back to Greensboro, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were just too many memories of Us for me to feel like it could be Mine. The quest to find the place where I belong continues. Hashtag first world problems, I guess.

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