Rendezvous At The Counter: A Tale of Forbidden Touch

I decided last week that I need a new knitting project, not because I need to remain “productive” in this period of social isolation, but because knitting has proven an effective method of self-soothing in the past. However, I find myself in an awkward position: on the one hand, my knitting skills remain … rudimentary. On the other hand, I am really bored of knitting rectangles, i.e. blankets and scarves.

I put this problem to Dr. Lake and she suggested that I knit myself a poncho, which was a good suggestion since a poncho is basically a rectangle with a hole in it. And I’m already a pro at holes—have made several in my previous knitting projects without even trying! After perusing possible poncho patterns, however, I started to feel that I am not a poncho person.

That is, I was not inspired as I scrolled through pictures of poncho-clad ladies strolling carelessly on the beach living their best poncho lives until, all of a sudden, I read the words midnight rendezvous capelet and my heart skipped a beat, because it struck me that perhaps I am a midnight rendezvous capelet person.

In a gesture of radical hope, therefore, I have decided to knit myself a midnight rendezvous capelet.

I describe this as a project of radical hope because embarking upon it entails committing to at least three debatable propositions.

  1. That I have the knitting skills to make such a garment (Louise, what do you think? Mum has her doubts. If you don’t think I’m up to it, could you recommend, shall we say, a more basic capelet? Something in the line of a happy-hour-with-colleagues-capelet? Or perhaps an elevenses capelet?).
  2. That rendezvous—that is, a meeting of at least two people, in which at least one person has to leave their home—will be an existent social practice at some time in the future.
  3. That I and also other people with whom to rendezvous will exist in the future. (One might ask: is a midnight rendezvous capelet still a midnight rendezvous capelet if there are no vous with whom to rendez? But let’s not ask that question.)

Even if all of the above conditions were to obtain, it remains true that I’m really only “a midnight rendezvous capelet person” in an aspirational sense; I’m usually tucked up in bed by 10pm. I’m trying to recall, in fact, the last time I stayed out after 10pm and I honestly can’t remember. Have I ever stayed out past 10pm, I wonder? Anything that happened more than a fortnight ago now feels indistinct, bathed in the sepia-tinted glow of yesteryear.

Ahh, the very very very early 2020s. It was a simpler time, wasn’t it?

EHA, do you remember how, in the olden times of Before March, we’d rendezvous at midday for lunch on Montana, and we’d often sit outside, sometimes at a table just 2 or 3 feet away from other people?

Katie, do you remember how, Before March, we went to plyojam and got all sweaty in a room with other people and then we went to Trader Joe’s and we didn’t have to queue somberly outside before entering and I didn’t even wipe down the cart handle?

KJ Rabbit, do you remember how, Before March, we had a midday rendezvous at that place on La Brea and when you asked if you could get something left off your sandwich the woman at the register was a bit snippy, like, “Umm, do you have an allergy or is it, like, just a preference?”

Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a snippy person at a counter now!

And, speaking of counters, remember when surfaces were just useful things to put other stuff on, and not death traps needing to be constantly wiped down like the sneeze-droplet-filled-germ-lairs that we all now know them to be?

That’s how I know that all those pictures of poncho-clad ladies are from Before March: they’re all languorously draped over various pieces of furniture without a care in the world! One woman, who clearly has a death wish, is leaning on a banister, and there’s no Lysol in sight. Doesn’t she know banisters are high-touch areas?

Knitting a midnight rendezvous capelet would also, then, express another hope: that we will at some point in the future once again inhabit a world in which, we will not only rendezvous, but, by God, we will also sidle up to counters and blithely lean on them with wild abandon.