The Real Angora Man
Sometimes my job is a Seinfeld episode. You remember the story of Angora Man, the little old guy with the fluffy white angora sweater fetish? I didn’t think anybody would ever top him. I was so wrong.
On Thursday I met the real Angora Man. He was a big guy, maybe in his late 40’s, and my first impression was that he was probably here picking something up for his wife. He had a ball of some lurid lime-green Lincraft novelty wool that he was trying to match. He said he needed it to finish the cuffs of a sweater. From his comments, I gathered that he knew more about knitting than the average husband. “Are you knitting this yourself?” I asked. No, he had a knitter-for-hire that was knitting it… for him. Hmmm. I stopped asking questions. As I was showing him around the shop in a vain attempt to find something that would work, his attention was caught by our glass display case of expensive wools. “Wow,” he said. “I’ve got to have that.” He was looking at the angora. The lime-green angora. “The, uh, angora?” I said. “Very lovely. Would it be, uh, for yourself?” “Oh yes,” he said. “I collect angora sweaters. I have over two hundred.” That’s when I began composing this post in my head.He asked if I knew how that particular angora knitted up, so I told him that another gentleman had had a sweater knitted in it a few months ago and it turned out beautifully. How many balls did he use? I called my boss. “Albie, you remember Ang- that guy with the angora sweater? How many balls did he use?” “About 21. Why?” “Because I’ve got another guy who wants one, and he’ll probably need about 30. Do we have more?” “Are you kidding? I’ve got three more boxes at the warehouse. We haven’t sold a single one!” I smiled winningly at Real Angora Man and told him that I had plenty for him. He placed an order for 30 balls and paid cash (over $350). As he was leaving, he casually said, “Oh, and if that other angora guy ever comes back in, give him my number.” No worries, mate.
So that was on Thursday, and I giggled while retelling the story all weekend. I had just opened the knitting section today when R.A.M. walked in again. “Good morning!” I greeted him. “Here to pick up your wool?” Actually he’d already gotten it the day before, and in fact he’d also bought our last 10 balls in that colour (meaning he had 40 altogether in the lime-green). His new plan was to have a short sleeve jumper and a matching cardigan. In other words, a twin set. He was back to find some matching wool or ribbon to use for the cuffs and maybe a design across the chest. We picked out some lovely variegated cotton in green, yellow, and blue for his knitter to try out. As he was paying, he looked again at the remaining balls of angora in the case. “Could I have a look at the lemon-yellow?” I showed it to him and then agreed that it really tied the lime-green and the cotton together. How many did we have? Another forty. He ordered the lot. (Man, I wish I worked on commission!)
Making small talk, I commented that I liked angora but I found it a bit too fuzzy for me. “It all comes,” he said, “from having a mother that dressed me in nothing but angora. I can’t wear anything else!” I bet. I observed that maybe it was just something you had to get used to. “Eventually you can even wear it to bed!” he enthused. Uh-huh.
So, Original Angora Man, if you’re out there, drop by the shop so I can hook you up with Real Angora Man. You guys are a match made in heaven. (And how weird is it that my shop has become, like, the fluffy pick-up joint of Sydney?)