On friday afternoon I found myself in the waiting room of the local urgent care center. Having been there before, I knew that it could be quite a while before they called my name. So before I left I grabbed one of my in-progress knitting projects to pass the time; a cabled beanie in chunky yarn.
I found a seat and pulled out the knitting. Yarn. Check. Needles (correct size). Check. Row counter and stitch marker. Check and check. Cable Needle. Oops! No cable needle. I looked around the room but no one else there was knitting. Besides it might be awkward to walk up to a total stranger and say “Pardon me, do you happen to have a spare cable needle I could borrow?” It seemed that the yarn gods were not on my side.
I thought about other ways to spend the time. I’m not normally a germaphobe but I never touch the magazines in doctors’ offices. Just the thought of all the sneezes, coughs and grubby hands that touched those pages makes me shudder. Playing games on my phone was a possibility but didn’t really appeal to me. I really wanted to knit.
I heard a little voice in my head, “Improvise, my dear!” The voice sounded a something like the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey. “Improvise, my dear!” But it was a memory of my grandmother doing an imitation of her head teacher from nursing school.
My mother’s mother (we called her MomMom) studied to be a nurse back in the 1920’s. How different it must have been back then with no antibiotics or blood banks. Aspirin and x-rays were high tech. And there was certainly no next day air delivery of needed supplies. When the nurses ran out of something, they had to make do with what they had in order to help the patients. So they improvised.
I improvise a lot when I cook. I substitute one vegetable for another, vary the flavor of a recipe with different spices. When I knit I’ll freely substitute different yarns. I’ve used paper clips and safety pins for stitch markers. One time I used an earring. So there was no reason I couldn’t McGyver a cable needle. I rummaged through my purse and found a pen. Voila!
You never know what little challenges life will throw your way. And you’ll never know how to solve them until you try.