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.

1 comment:

  1. U are such an out of the box thinker...I LOVE U!! :)