Knitting in public

Thanks to train cancellations and a general inability on my part to leave the house on time, I ended up catching the DLR to work yesterday morning rather than my usual train. I was also travelling slightly later than usual (see above comment about not being able to leave on time) so it was quiet enough that I could even get a seat. All of which meant that I managed to squeeze in some knitting time on my way to work.

Knitting in public

There are very strict unwritten rules of etiquette in place on the London transport system. For example: you will not make eye contact with fellow passengers; you will not attempt to converse with fellow passengers (unless you are travelling together, at which point everyone else will pretend that they can’t hear you); in fact, you will attempt at all times to pretend that your fellow passengers do not exist and that you are alone in the carriage (while also not making it difficult for your fellow passengers to pretend that you don’t exist). Exceptions are made for reading other people’s newspapers over their shoulders and glaring at people whose earphones are leaking noise into the carriage.

The fun part about knitting on public transport in London (other than the fun of the knitting itself, obviously) is that it also seems to be an exception to the rules. For instance, when I travelled regularly by Tube, I often looked up from my knitting to realise that the whole carriage was staring at my hands, apparently hypnotised by the  movement of my needles. Very occasionally, I even got into a conversation with someone about what I was knitting. However, the best bit (for me) is the (guilty) pleasure that I get from the terribly British embarrassment that some people suffer when they suddenly realise that they have been staring fixedly at a stranger’s lap for the past five minutes.

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