We all know what "the doldrums" means. Most people think of it as that listless and dispassionate feeling one gets in the dog days of summer, when it's too hot to move or even think very much. We call it "the doldrums" because we know (and hope) that it is a temporary state, and that, unlike true depression, it will pass on its own accord in a few weeks without the need for talk therapy of medication. And indeed, that is one correct definition of "the doldrums:" an attack of lethargy, sluggishness and a general lack of worky thoughts.
"Get your own nap chair. This one's taken."
But how did the term come to define ennui? In case you forgot, I'll remind you: "the doldrums" is a term used by sailors dependent on wind power to move their ships. In the tropics, due to shifting wind patterns at the Equator, it's not difficult to find one's self in a place devoid of wind, afloat in water as still as glass, not going anywhere, and not knowing when the wind will blow again. A sailing ship in the doldrums is helplessly stalled until the wind deigns to get busy...and when it does, it's more likely to be a dangerous storm, instead of the strong, steady breeze one needed to fill one's sails.
Excessively long periods of the doldrums cause despair, and even panic among sailors not equipped with electronic communications to alert rescuers. Throughout history, long periods of the doldrums have driven fearful, hungry and thirsty sailors (and perhaps a few pirates) to mutiny:
The nautical use of "the doldrums" give us, not only the term "the doldrums" for periods of anxiety-filled ennui, but it's also where we get the term "dead in the water," which most landlubbers use to describe a situation where progress is not being made. But perhaps the doldrums are most famously responsible for inspiring Samuel Taylor Coleridge with an excessively quoted quote:
"Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink."
Although the Ancient Mariner had far more grievous maters besieging him than a pokey economy, it was a long hiatus in the doldrums which pushed him into his predicament.
When I first opened the Knitting Asylum, I knew what I was getting into. I had no delusions of blissfully knitting the day away, surrounded by lovely string and a cheerful gaggle of knitters. I knew that there were orders to be filled, inventory to be counted, tax forms to fill out, price labels to affix to everything from yarn ball bands to stitch markers. I knew that half of any retail job is paperwork and bills, and more of it than any sane person cares to think about on an average day, much less do voluntarily.
A person also must do promotions for one's shop, and devise attractive displays, and if one has no real advertising money, one has to spend an awful lot of time engaged in self-promotion on the Innerwebs and running around town posting flyers announcing, "Here I Am!"
So I entered this business of selling pretty string, and with my stunning luck, I had already committed myself to it financially the very same week the stock market tanked and the recession got underway. And I find myself in a similar pickle to the Ancient Mariner. "Yarn, yarn everywhere, my bank account doth shrink."
I've worked hard to keep my yarn little store afloat during these difficult economic times. But now, on the Gulf Coast, just as the rest of America is beginning to recover from the recession, the people of the Gulf of Mexico face a regional deepening of this recession due to the horrific oil spill along our coasts.
It hasn't been a good year for business. So far. So...
O Wise Knitters , Spinners, Crocheters and Weavers:
During the month of July, I am conducting a "Make Your Own Sale" Sale. Every time you come in during the month of July, you will pull a folded bit of paper from a jar (perhaps a pretty one) and upon that piece of paper will be printed a number. The number, which ranges anywhere from 20-75, will indicate the percentage deducted from your purchase that day, excluding items already on sale.
During the month of July, I am will also continue my sale on spinning wheels and weaving looms, and I've bumped the discount up to 30% off. Tempting?
And August will also be the month for my first ever "Sweat" Sock Sale. Just because the heat is making us all sweat so much, we deserve a sweet deal so we can sit on the couch and knit socks without working up a sweat ... so all sock yarn in the store will be 20% off in August, and there will be larger discounts on select yarns.
Bear with me as I muddle through the summer.