Summer classes at the Academy of Art can only be described as suicidal. Fifteen week courses with the equivalent workload compartmentalized into seven and a half tortuous weeks. It was just the three of us, and the only thing that was certain during that summer semester was that an identity crisis would ensue halfway through the deadline of each project.
The one teacher with the skill to cut the thin thread that we all hang from during finals week faster than anyone, Midori (names have not been changed since I will tell you like it is to your face). At the time, I worked at Best Buy selling computers and entertainment centers to house wives with black cards and no business buying electronics in the first place. A job position Midori would throw in my face after an unsatisfactory presentation or pattern disaster;
“You’re planning to be manager of Best Buy with this? Don’t do what anyone can do. You’re here. Be here.”
Midori could single-handedly destroy your ego with one ambiguous sentence dripping with disdain roughly translated into English. Reminding oneself to be nowhere but where you are can be applied to all situations. Every day we passed through the door with a reality check awaiting on the other side. In the great words of DMX,
“KNOCK, KNOCK! OPEN UP THE DOOR, IT’S REAL.”
It was one of these gems that made me realize that Leah Antoinette and I were prisoners of war and Knitwear was our only refuge from the grisly battle. After a tedious fabric decision went awry for reasons outside the lab, Leah was sobbing over the gorgeous idea of fine knit drop-stitch sweater that was quickly unraveling along with what was left of Leah’s composure .
“If you need to talk to somebody, I’m not going to be that person. Can you cry and knit?”
In a nutshell, Leah was driving the struggle bus and speeding recklessly close to Midori’s capacity for sympathy. Another life lesson disguised as insensitivity. If you can’t cry and still put one foot in front of the other, what can you do? That summer in SF Midori came to instruct us on fisherman’s ribs and tuck stitches. We all also couldn’t ignore the subtle coaching said in a no nonsense tone that we heard while at the knitting bed. Outside the seventh floor knitting room Leah and I have never encountered another Midori but the scar we share from that summer had proven to be the best reminder of solidarity and gave us the best insight into walking life’s paths.