An unfinished object on an unfinished chair.
I picked up the yarn at a little cart at the Versailles market with the intention of making myself a little cravat to go with the tweed jacket I'd coopted from the Frenchie. Though the color ended up not being not exactly what I wanted, decided anyway to continue knitting. If nothing else, it'd keep my hands occupied if my brain was too fried to let me read during the long flight home.
The guy sitting next to me on the flight back was French, wore eyeglasses like the Proclaimers did back in the day, and spent most of his time either dozing or reading the sports pages. Every now and again I'd catch him looking at my hands.
About two or three hours into the flight, I decided to break the ice. "You know, I wish I were able to sleep on the plane. I'm too keyed-up, though. You're very lucky." He looked at me blankly, so I repeated in French. He gave a half smile and told me that he was just resting his eyes and that he could only do that because he was totally whupped. Also said that he was enjoying watching my hands; they were very strong and sure-looking and I must have been knitting for a long time.
Told him that I'd been knitting since I was six (so for quite a long time) and asked him if he wanted to learn. He thanked me, but wasn't interested. Since he made his living with his hands he needed to rest them as much as possible between jobs.
"What do you do for a living if you don't mind me asking? (I was being rude, but curiosity trumped convention. Besides, he'd just complimented my hands and learned my age.)" He grinned and told me that he made saddles for a living. Horse saddles? Told him about my two equestrian friends and my Frenchie who was fascinated by sewing machines and asked him all about the saddler business. Asked him what brought him to the States and how he hurt his hands. (Work on both accounts.) He went to NY every few months to work his behind off at an atelier there that was associated with his company (Hermes? Hadn't the nerve to ask that), and the last time there, he overdid it. He wasn't as young as he used to be and he had to be very careful now.
I asked him if he would like some reiki. He didn't know what that was, but figured that it couldn't hurt, so why not. Asked him if he minded my touching him. He didn't, so I took put my hands on his and kept them there for a bit.
That really got the conversation flowing. I learned that he was married and that, though he liked going to NY, he hated leaving his wife behind. Though he lived in Paris, he originally came from the Midi (this I could tell, as he had a very strong Mediterranean accent). In the summer, he was hoping to get his wife out there for a month or so, and afterwards he wanted to take her to New England. She apparently loved history and was dying to see the birthplace of my country. His wife also knew how to knit and he loved watching her hands, too. Especially when she was working on something complicated.
He asked me how I liked Paris, how my Frenchie and I dealt with the distances, and what I did in Boston. I told him that, though it bummed me out to have to return to the States, at least I had enough chocolate to last me. (How much? Oh, 6-7 kg. Enough for gifts and to tide me over till I got to see my friend again. He thought this an absolute hoot.)
When the plane landed, we collected our stuff and shook hands. "Take care of your hands," I said to him. He told me to do the same. "I hope you make it to Boston with Mme." He assured me that they would...and Vermont, and New hampshire. I told him not to forget Maine. He made a note of that.
I should have been really forward and asked for his address as I think this actually belongs to him.