“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

Have you ever been in a situation where you were traveling and could not help but overhear a loud “conversation” <ahem, cough, cough, argument, cough, cough>, occurring in a seat behind you in which both parties were so simplisticly misinformed, that suddenly the term “sit on your hands” had altogether a whole new clarity of meaning?

I had to not just sit on my hands, but alternately sit on them and push them in fists against my mouth to keep myself from shooting it off.   The content of the conversation wasn’t important, but more that feeling that it engendered that seems so universal – the almost irresistible compulsion to insert myself where I oh-so-very-much DO NOT BELONG.

I managed to resist through a great effort of will.  This is a new skill that I am rather becoming proud of.

Do you want to know an unexpected, and somewhat amazing discovery?  A knitting woman is invisible.  She is more invisible even than if you are sitting silently immobile, or even thought asleep.  It is an information-gathering tactic that Eleanor Roosevelt used to great effect while growing up in – and later marrying into – the halls of male power, and she was right.   People have remarkably frank conversations over and around you as if you couldn’t possibly be paying attention.  You simply vanish, the minute you pick up your needles and start and Eleanor heard conversations that she never would have had access to had she simply been quietly idle in the corner.

We CAN listen.  And we inevitably ARE listening.

So beware, folks.  Those women meekly clicking their needles away in your midst hear everything.  And are silently smiling to themselves.

March 2nd, 2009 at 8:40 pm
4 Responses to “Strangers on a Plane”
  1. 1
    Steph Says:

    Oh my God. Please let me use this someday! Your post created the kernel of a character … BAM … just like that. I don’t know when her story is gonna get written, but it’s gonna be such fun when it does.

  2. 2
    OS Says:

    I was suddenly picturing you as some superhero secret identity.

  3. 3
    magpie Says:

    Invisible, huh?

    What were they talking about so misinformedly?

  4. 4

    Going to learn to knit.