Saturday, August 19, 2006

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Girls really do just wanna have fun. Even middle-aged girls with deadlines.

Okay, we really can't ignore the Black Fixation Bulky elephant in the room, can we? Yes, that's my current w-i-p for my beloved Goldisox, he of the big and fussyfeet. And yes indeed, that's a Crystal 7 quarter slot machine behind it.

Now I can hear you asking, "So how did a Magic Loop sock end up posing in front of a slot machine in Atlantic City?"

And well you might ask. (A tip of the hat to Yarn Harlot for reminding all of us that socks deserve to get out and about too.)

The thing is, you can only work so long before your brain shuts down. It happened to Goldisox this week and by midnight last night it was definitely happening to me. So he did what any good Alpha hero would do: he took matters into his own hands and decided we were going to drive down to A.C. (Atlantic City for the non-NJ among us) and enjoy the beach, the Boardwalk, the buffet, and the slots.

I tried to be virtuous. I really did. With demure and downcast eyes I told him to go and enjoy himself while I stayed home and worked my fingers to the bone at the keyboard. I won't tell you what he said to me (this blog is kinda G-rated) but it worked.

The creative brain is truly a mysterious critter. The second I knew my time this morning would be limited, all my brain wanted to do was write. So I was up at 6:30 and at the computer and the words flowed out. By the time we left at 10, I had five pages under my belt. (Which when things are going badly might constitute a week's output.) I grabbed my knitting, my sunglasses, and my SPF30 and we were on our way down the shore.

There is nothing I love better than a long car trip. Especially when I'm the passenger. I love the sense of being just the two of us in this little earthbound space capsule, hurtling along the highway. Our best times, our best conversations happen in the car. Also, strangely enough, some of my best book ideas have sprung to life in the car. (But usually when I'm driving. I wonder why that is.) We live one hundred ten miles away from A.C. and we didn't shut up the entire way. I pulled out my Fixation Bulky socks Part Deux and managed to knit the cuff and about two inches of the leg before we zipped into the parking lot at Caesar's and went off in search of paninis and iced tea. (You didn't really think he'd ever ask for a "panini," did you? He asked for "one of those grilled things." To my beloved, a sandwich is a sandwich is a sandwich. Case closed.)

Anyway, we ate, we wandered, we strolled the Boardwalk, we walked the beach (attention, my Curly Girl blog sisters: I was able to walk the humid beach with my hair flowing in the breeze unfettered, unscrunchied, unFRIZZY! For the first time in my life I didn't leave the beach looking like the love child of Bernadette Peters and Don King.)

Back to the casino we went. Goldisox wanted to blow off some steam at the slots which was fine by me. I wasn't in a gambling mood. I was in a knitting mood. "You're going to knit at the slot machines?" he asked. Why not, I said. As long as I'm not taking a machine away from anyone, I think it's fine.

Random comments from passersby as they saw this strange and subversive behavior: "What the [fill in the proper expletive; you know which one]?" (Heard more than once.)

"What's that? A hat?"

"You're sewing at the slot machine?"

"Are you allowed to bring knitting needles into a casino?" This from a woman who could knit a pair of socks on her acrylic fingernails.

I'm not an exhibitionist kind of knitter. I didn't flash my Addis all over the place or gather a crowd around me so I could demonstrate how to keep ladders from forming. But I did perform a nifty little repair job that I managed to semi-capture with my phone cam. I dropped a stitch on those boring black dull black unceasingly black socks and had a terrible time trying to find it in that canvas of black black black. However the second I held the sock up to the brightly lit come-and-gimme-all-your-money-you-fool Crystal 7 Slot Machine I was able to find the dropped stitch and use the end of a PDA stylus to work it back up into its proper place.

We headed back around six p.m., picked up Chinese food from our favorite local place, then made it home in time for the Jets kick-off.

If I'm lucky I'll manage another five pages before we turn out the lights.

A little writing, a little knitting, a lot of fun. Not a bad day at all.

My curly red-haired self at 4 on my Swedish grandmother's tenant farm in Maryland.



Blogger Jean Brashear said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, BB, rub it in on the seaside stroll sans frizz. (Are we going to sit back and take this, Sandra?;))

I gotta say that I've knitted in a lot of strange places, but I do believe the slots takes the cake. What a great picture!

About that driving and writing thing, I, too, find it helpful and actually like driving now, when I used to loathe it. When I'm stuck in a story, sometimes I just jump in the car and drive back country roads aimlessly, and it never fails to jog something loose. Someone told me once that the part of the brain used in navigation is the same you use for plotting...which makes total sense, since it's just navigating your way through a story.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Jean Brashear said...

Oops--forgot to mention how fun it is to see you as a little girl!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Barbara, your husband sounds like a very, very smart man.

My husband loves to gamble and I've been a good wife and trekked down to Atlantic City with him a few times. However, I just hate to waste money on the turn of a card or the spin of a slot when I could be using it for something practical like a pair of silver high-heeled sandals with rhinestone straps. You've solved my dilemma--I'll take my knitting with me, esp. since slot machines are so useful for finding dropped stitches.

Wahoo! A.C., here I come!

2:37 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Don't get me wrong, Nancy, sometimes the Men in Black penny slots call my name and I can't resist. (And don't think I'm being virtuous. You'd be shocked how many people plunk down FIVE DOLLARS a pull on penny slots!) There are days I need an infusion of crowds and noise and neon lights and Extreme People Watching. (I'm pretty sure I was chatting with Dominic Chianese -- Uncle Junior -- from The Sopranos yesterday when we zoomed through Resorts. I was too embarrassed too ask. If it was D.C., he is very short and very slender. [Then again, aren't most celebrities?]

BTW, have you noticed the four white Space Age windmills across the bay near The Borgata?

Jean, I never heard that about navigation and plotting. Maybe that's whyI can't plot my way out of a paper bag: I have literally lost my way in a doctor's office going from exam room back to the front desk.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Hey, I got lost in a spa once (in my white terry cloth robe and silly slippers) and ended up in the men's dressing room--I kid you not. Luckily there were no men in it at the time.

Although if Liam Neeson had been there, I might have stayed.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Excuse me?? I thought you were a Pierce Brosnan girl.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Okay, so I'm fickle. All those pix of Liam got me to thinking...

8:28 PM  

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