Always on the hunt for hip new cafťs, I decide to take my friend Jís recommendation and try out True Grounds, on Broadway in Ball Square. Inside itís bright and almost every seat is taken by solo laptoppers and duo gabbers. I get a cup of black-as-my-soul Costa Rican and snag one of the remaining seats on one of the two couches in the back, adjacent to a laptopper. A few tables down is a tall, scruffy guy who looks like he could be reading existentialist philosophy. I catch his eye and he feigns a knowing scowl. I havenít shaved or showered and my hair has that tussled, wrestling-with-life look about it. Things are about right for a good writing session.
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I get a few sips of coffee in and then a thirtyish woman approaches and asks if the seat next to me is free. I tell her it is, she places her bag there and Iím well into proceeding to ponder what Iím going to write when I process the fearful words she said next: My knitting circle will be here in a moment. Thereís no way in the world she can be serious. The two couches can fit probably four people maximum, four and a half in a squeeze. And now three of them are already occupied. Iím sure I misheard her.
But one by one they start arriving: chipper, cheerful, friendly, pleasant knitters. Is this seat free? Do you mind if I squeeze in next to you? Can you fit one more here? How about if I move your bag to make a little more room? I frown into my notebook and refuse to make eye contact with any of them. Meanwhile, out come the click click click knitting needles, long and deadly. Before long the table is a mountain of wool. More knitters arrive, including two men. Brothers, I want to say, have you lost your mind? This is a knitting circl! They seem lost to the cause. And more arrive. Save a seat for Trudy. Canít we fit one more onto the couch? There, thatís cozy isnít it? My existentialist comrade quietly exits.
There is no peace. Iím completely surrounded -- cluster bombed by the Ball Square Knitting Club. They are nine and counting. They quickly whip out their patterns, scarves and socks. And click click click talk about how many rows theyíve done click click click since last week, ďA Good YarnĒ and how click click badly they want Kerry to win. I take another sip of my coffee and cast evil glances about, but no one sees as all eyes are ensconced in the wool. I ponder the headlines: Ball Square Knitters Throw Support and Sweaters Behind Kerry.
Suddenly, the woman next to me misses a stitch and skewers my knee with her needle. I jump out of my chair. Oh, sorry, she giggles, as she pulls out the bloody end. Instead of
sitting down, I grab my notebook, knapsack and pen, crash through the boundary of the knitting circle and head for the door, sacrificing my three-quarters full Costa Rican. Oh, did we force you out? says the just-arrived Trudy. Not fast enough, baby, not fast enough!
Cafť lovers! Don't let this happen to you!
Please, guard the couches with your lives and stop the Ball Square
Knitting Club before itís too late!
this is in or around somerville