Why You Should Tat

Your doctor is running late, again. You could glower at a year-old copy of "Microbe Quarterly" and run your blood pressure up to levels that will earn you a prescription for Hydrodiuril -- or you could take a shuttle out of your pocket and start tying knots.

The bus might arrive any second now; it's more likely that it will amble along in half an hour. You can't read and keep one eye on the corner where the bus will first appear. If you try to work on your report, you'll get it scrambled when you have to shove it back into your briefcase. If you sit and stare, you'll end up biting your nails. You take a shuttle out of your pocket and start knotting threads.

You come home daydreaming of putting your boss and your assistant into the same sinking lifeboat. You pour yourself a tall glass of water to replace what you've lost in sweat, sink into your favorite chair, and kick off your shoes. More aggravation from the evening news, you don't need. You take a shuttle from the end table and begin tying a length of string into knots.

You have reached an impasse in your work. You need to relax for a while and think about something else. You sit down and shut your eyes, but your mind keeps trampling the same, well-worn circle. You take a shuttle out of your pocket and begin tying knots.

You are sitting with some friends. Your mind and your mouth are busy, but your hands need something to do. You take a shuttle out of your pocket and begin tying knots.

You are watching television. It's a good show, but occupies only half your mind. The other half is knotting thread.

You are attending a lecture. Sometimes your mind wanders off and doesn't get back soon enough. You pull a shuttle out of your pocket and wrap the thread around your fingers. Knotting runs in the background, slowing or stopping when the lecture takes your full attention, speeding up when the lecturer covers minor variations on things you already know. The knots you are tying in the thread seem to secure the information in your mind.

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