Wool and Water in Brooklyn
It was a rainy rainy day Saturday and the laundry pile was in danger of avalanche. Worried that the Board of Health would be stopping by any minute to arrest me for my continued neglect of the housework, I skipped out the front door and hopped on the train to Brooklyn General.
Unlike most everyone I know, I never lived in Brooklyn. I don't quite have the lay of the land there, and I always feel a little like Alice making her way through a familiarly unfamiliar landscape. I wonder how that story would have turned out if Alice had a GPS on her Crackberry like me?
Imagine my surprise when I shook out my umbrella and opened the door at Brooklyn General, and found myself in the "Wool and Water" chapter from Through the Looking Glass:
"Was she in a shop? And was that really -- was it really a sheep that was sitting on the other side of the counter? Rub as she would, she could make nothing more of it: she was in a little dark shop, leaning with her elbows on the counter, and opposite to her was an old Sheep, sitting in an arm-chair, knitting, and every now and then leaving off to look at her through a great pair of spectacles.
`What is it you want to buy?' the Sheep said at last, looking up for a moment from her knitting.
`I don't quite know yet,' Alice said very gently. `I should like to look all round me first, if I might.'
`You may look in front of you, and on both sides, if you like,' said the Sheep; `but you ca'n't look all round you -- unless you've got eyes at the back of your head.'
But these, as it happened, Alice had not got: so she contented herself with turning round, looking at the shelves as she came to them.
The shop seemed to be full of all manner of curious things -- but the oddest part of it all was that, whenever she looked hard at any shelf, to make out exactly what it had on it, that particular shelf was always quite, empty, though the others round it were crowded as full as they could hold.
`Things flow about so here!' she said at last in a plaintive tone, after she had spent a minute or so in vainly pursuing a large bright thing that looked sometimes like a doll and sometimes like a work-box, and was always in the shelf next above the one she was looking at. `And this one is the most provoking of all -- but I'll tell you what --' she added, as a sudden thought struck her. `I'll follow it up to the very top shelf of all. It'll puzzle it to go through the ceiling, I expect!'
But even this plan failed: the `thing' went through the ceiling as quietly as possible, as if it were quite used to it.
`Are you a child or a teetotum?' the Sheep said, as she took up another pair of needles. `You'll make me giddy soon, if you go on turning round like that.' She was now working with fourteen pairs at once, and Alice couldn't help looking at her in great astonishment.
`How can she knit with so many?' the puzzled child thought to herself. `She gets more and more like a porcupine every minute!'
`Can you row?' the Sheep asked, handing her a pair of knitting-needles as she spoke.
`Yes, a little -- but not on land -- and not with needles --' Alice was beginning to say, when suddenly the needles turned into oars in her hands, and she found they were in a little boat, gliding along between banks: so there was nothing for it but to do her best."
I came to in the PATH station with a lot of yarn! And some ribbon! And buttons! And my Crackberry had run out of batteries! And I couldn't tell you how to get there again if my life depended on it, but I suggest you crawl down your own rabbit hole and find out.