Beware the bar codes

In my quest to get my head together I’ve been trying to schedule a good amount of work time in my carrell at the main library here on campus. This works really well if I have knitting or other things to bait myself – If I get in [x amount of time/work] before lunch I can read while I eat, If I get in [x amount of time/work] after lunch then I can have a knitting break at mid-to-late afternoon, that sort of thing. Also, the cafeteria and accompanying common space was recently outfitted with a lot of new dining tables and a few clusters of armchairs, so overall it’s a more pleasant space to sit in that it was a few months ago.

Now, in order to get to this space and exit the stacks, or to exit the building from the main floor, you have to go through the library equivalent of metal detectors, designed to stop you from leaving the library with uncharged materials. Yesterday, I got stopped by these contraptions three times – and I do mean stopped; if the sensors go off, the little hinged barrier you would normally push aside and walk through immediately locks down, so instead you slam into it and end up with a nasty bruise on your hip and suddenly start mentally cataloguing all the contents of your bag and wonder what the frak you could possibly be carrying that is so horrible.

At lunch and at my break time, I had my handbag which was filled with the exact same items I’ve been carrying around with me for the last 2 weeks or so, without being stopped by library sensors. After being stopped 3 times without any conclusive ideas (the library staff immediately guessed either my cell phone, my novel that did have a bar code, or my metallic granola bar wrapper that also had a bar code on it – but then, I ate that and then the sensors still went off.

Later, it finally dawned on me. The innocuous items no one ever suspects: yarn and knitting needles.

(These balls of yarn and needle cases sure look innocent enough. Hah.)

It finally occurred to me that over the course of the weekend, I had tossed in a new ball of yarn and set of needles into my bag for miscellaneous playing, and just left them in there even though they weren’t involved in my lunchtime sock knitting. And lookie there – bar codes. It also occurred to me that the needles had probably been purchased at one of my LYSs that doesn’t use an electronic scanning system, unlike the big-ass craft stores, and so it’s entirely possible that the bar code is still active and ready and eager to set off library sensors and frustrate the hell out of me three times in one day. Ah, nobody ever suspects the knitters.

While I’m here talking about break-time knitting, let me say one more thing – what the HECK is up with students in every single library on campus doing this:

(Hello! I’m someone’s laptop, cell phone, and mp3 player, ready for you to swipe from under their noses!)

Most likely, the owner of these belongings is either a) off getting his/her coffee/food/something else and will return in an undefined amount of time, b) 15-20 feet away chatting with his/her buddies and will return in an undefined amount of time, or (my favourite) c) just about to leave his/her belongings behind and is right now asking me if I will look after them for him/her.

After spending X years on university campuses, I’ve lost patience with all of these scenarios. I don’t understand people who would risk losing what are probably their most expensive personal belongings like this, I don’t understand people who disrespect common space by allowing their belongings to take up space for them and prevent other people from using those tables and chairs, and I sure as heck don’t feel like it’s my job to take responsibility for someone else’s things merely because I happen to be knitting a sock in close proximity. Argh.

(EBTKS, the body and one sleeve)

Annnnd, that’s the closest I’ve gotten to a soapbox on this blog, so I’ll just sign off with a quick shot of the Everything But the Kitchen Sink sweater. Thank you all so much for the lovely comments about it! I’m actually starting to fret that it’s all going to turn out horribly wrong. Despite the fact that the stitches tell me I am getting proper stitch gauge, it’s turning out a little wider than I’d wanted, and I was already erring on the side of “cozy” fit since I have broad shoulders and I wanted a warm comfy sweater. Also, my row gauge appears to be much looser than called for, which means the sleeve openings are turning out more than an inch too long… Fret, fret, fret.

Well, I’m committed now, just one more sleeve to go! And it’s not as though I splurged on a bunch of new yarn for the project, after all ;) My sister reassures me that if I don’t like the way it fits, she’ll happily take it. (“You’ll still have enough yarn to knit yourself one afterwards!” she says.) Such love.

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6 Comments

Filed under everything but the kitchen sink, knitting in public

6 responses to “Beware the bar codes

  1. Anonymous

    Hmm, what a pleasant change of pace to hear a brief rant about the stupidity of other people from YOU, who almost never complains about anything. Of course, your nick name (Crazy knitting lady) does lead one to think that there will be some rants: both ‘crazy’ and ‘(old) lady’ implying lots of rants.

    You know, I was always thinking that there could be a terrorist with some knitting needles on Alias or 24 or one of those shows. It would be a perfect cover and those needles could be quite lethal.

    Cathy

  2. Glenna C

    Cathy – hah! It’s so true, I really should look into more crazy rants to live up to my nickname. But seriously, the stupidity of some people, leaving all their crap for others to steal. And people really do underestimate knitting needles and yarn – I’m all for tv plots involving them just as long as the airplane industry still lets me take them on trips! ;)

  3. Jo

    Me too,me me me! I’ll take the sweater!lol I love your ebtks sweater so much, I’m sure it’s going to be just lovely on so don’t fret, just relax and enjoy it!

  4. Marianne

    “In a perfect world” only could we leave our ‘things’ just lying about,eh? And then ‘they’ whine because someone made off with their stuff. Crazy.
    Sweater is looking gorgeous, but from the photo I do get the impression that the sleeve is rather large but it could just be the photo…
    I’m hoping it all works out for you!

  5. Helen Chisholm

    What an excellent rant from a student, I work as an administrator at Royal Holloway Univeristy in the UK, they do it here as well! I can say I have NEVER spotted anyone except me taking a knitting break. On thing I would love students to remember is to identify their work with the correct candidate number, I cant understand why someone would work so hard on a project then not bother to submit it correctly. It would be like me knitting a beautiful jumper then tossing it in the washing machine.

  6. Glenna C

    Jo – thanks so much! The encouragement is helping. And I will put you down as 3rd-in-line for the sweater ;)

    Marianne – I really just don’t get these people who leave their things lying around for so long! It’s a big risk to say the least.

    Helen – what excellent points; You are right that students forget the details so often. (I work as a teaching assistant also ;) ) And I too have never seen anyone else taking a knitting break except for me!