from today's Washington Post (for some of you, maybe last week's paper?:
Dear Miss Manners:
At a condo association meeting consisting of about 60 people, there was a head table with six people, facing about six rows of tables, about 5 feet away. In the front row were two ladies — not sitting next to each other — doing their needlework.
Is it proper to do needlework while at an event such as this? I noticed that the speakers were distracted (and so was I) by their movements.
Between reading the directions and rearranging their work, one couldn’t help but turn their way to see what was going on. I say it is rude.
But what if they don’t have hand-held devices that enable them to check their e-mail, text message and play games while the committee is droning on?
Not that Miss Manners condones failing to pay attention at meetings, or rather, failing to look as if one is paying attention.
She merely wants to make the point that there are worse distractions available. Needlework at least has precedent behind it.
For centuries, ladies sat quietly doing needlework while gentlemen conversed around them and didn’t miss a thing of what was going on.
Stitching in Public! Good for those ladies who were multi-tasking. I'd like to bring my needlework to our HOA meeting next week, but as it's usually a short and sweet meeting and crowded 'cause we meet in someone's home, I'll leave it at home.
I honestly can't say I've ever stitched in public in such a way as to present a distraction. I don't rattle my pattern or wave my scissors while yelling about orts.
Though I did have a teacher in prep school who wouldn't let me stitch during class. For the record: it was English class. Twelve teenagers sitting around an oval table discussing books in the Socratic method. We all know that we can stitch and talk at the same time. I was doing crewel work. And he was a male chauvinist. The class stood up for me, but the teacher ruled. And I put my sewing away. But I made it a point to arrive early and stitch before class after that incident.