Thursday, September 27, 2012

Your opinion matters

This week I've placed three handcrafted Public Suggestion Boxes into little pockets within my surrounding neighborhood: City Heights, Kensington, and University Heights.
I am anonymously asking, and in turn, anonymously receiving answers to a few basic questions:

What are you good at doing?

What do you love about your community?

What would you like to learn?

What would you improve in your neighborhood?

 I am hoping to find a name for the common threads that connect us, and represent no organization other than my own curious self. People have a hard time with that.

I placed the first box at a location I visit often, My Little 99 Cents Store on University and 43rd. Besides being in close proximity to where I live, I have found that this little gem carries a wide array of items I usually pay much more for at Albertson's across the way. The owner is always helpful and friendly and the store is well kept and organized in a way that makes sense. He was happy to participate in hosting a box, but asked if I would accept answers in Spanish. This was one thing I considered when making them, if I should write the questions in both Spanish and English, but I didn't want to inadvertently exclude those who speak other languages. So I asked if he could translate to his customers and he laughed, agreeably. He also told me I spent too much making it, although he did not ask how much, then warned me that it will probably be stolen.

The second box was placed at the Kensington Library across El Cajon Blvd on Adams ave. Kensington feels like miles away from City Height but it is actually bordering the district line. I wanted to open the questions up to mothers and children, both of which are always saturating this location, primarily at the park connected to the Library.
The Manager there at first seemed skeptical. I was asked who I represent and explained I am a resident in City Heights but work nearby and also know the owner of the art gallery across the street.
Once I presented the box she was intrigued, and complimented the design of it by saying it looked and smelled nice. She made a little spot for it by the door and said they would participate as long as I returned in a week to retrieve it.

 The third box was embraced by the barista's at one of my favorite coffee destinations, Mystic Mocha. I passed this spot many times before finally going inside when a co-worker of mine who lives on the same street suggested we meet there one day. I've been hooked ever since. Even though they close earlier than most coffee shops, (which is disappointing when you want a late afternoon pick me up), I like this spot because everyone there always seems like they're having fun at work, even when the line is out the door which it often is. The owner here made room for it right away and asked about what I do. When I mentioned the population I work with he said "we all have a little bit of that, don't we?" which I thought was true. Again I explained it's an idea for fun, since it was already called a school project. They generously offered me to pick it up in a month, and I laughed, knowing I will see that thing at least twice in the next week.

In the future I would like to craft several more boxes. I'd like to put one in my office, at Black Cat Bar, Kensington Video and some other preferred destinations. But I'd also like to offer one to places I've never been to before. Perhaps my own feelings of isolation in my community would mirror those in another? Or better yet, encourage me to seek a new network.

If you are interested in hosting a box, or have decorative tissue box holders that you would like to donate to help me create more, then I'd love to hear from you! Leave me a message. I promise your opinion does matter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This week in Feminist WTF's

Don't let my delayed reaction dilute the importance of what I can promise is one of few, if not the only political post I will share here. I missed the RNC showcase deliberately and only recently chose to watch (tolerable parts of it) after hearing the Obama's inspiring words. Now, I'm not even going to be catty and dissect the entire ramble, I did that in the privacy of my own home thankyouverymuch, but I will say this about Ann's, since I got that far.

First off, if you have been in a marriage for forty-something years, you should probably be referring to your mate as a Man, not a boy. I couldn't help but cringe in acknowledgement that indeed, The Rommitator is definitely in no way.shape.form a Man, but even my boyfriend noticed how often she encouraged us all to see him as little beyond a bratty rich kid.

Her attempt at humanizing their history by mentioning the decor of their first apartment and eating tuna and pasta, which in a strange moment of synchronicity I was eating while watching it (swear to god) only felt like I was being publicly patronized along with the majority of us listeners who didn't marry into a multi-million dollar deal.
Besides her gross justification of sexism, this mention of "poverty" was especially unnerving for me and ended my attempt at being a fair voter by listening to her speech in its entirely.

I can't respect someone who has top notch medical care and access to unlimited everything, someone who actually sends horses to the Olympics for fun (?!) Someone who wears a thousand dollar tee shirt to an interview; I can't trust that this kind of person knows anything about the soul of our nation, in the midst of a deep financial deficit and impending oil crisis (which has already peaked, by the way.)

What I can respect is calling it for what it is: a Class election where the boy with the biggest bribes (in my elementary experience, lollipops) gets the most votes. So, pick a side Romney's. Poor isn't something you chose to be when it convenient, any working class middle of the road citizen knows its no privilege. But for many of us, it's a starting point that is filled with our unique stories of failure and triumph. You may be able to buy what you want, but that shit, our shit, is not for sale.