July 30, 2007

Lunchtime Encounters

Because there is not much else to do on my lunch breaks in Archway, I often scour the local charity shops for new books to add to my growing collection. (A huge pile of to-reads, which I am slowly working through, is stacked neatly on my bottom bookshelf). Here, I buy books I wouldn't normally purchase in Foyles or Borders, books that have potential or promise a bit of browse-worthy amusement.

I picked one up today called 365 Ways to Change the World by Michael Norton for £1. It highlights, in a day-by-day, page-by-page collection, ways to make a difference. Their Web site is just as interesting, offering news and daily suggestions. Norton himself is a vibrant character. He blogs here.

From the book:

June 30. Theme: Love your neighbourhood. One suggestion: 25 Things. “Photograph the 25 things that most please you about your neighbourhood. Then prepare a virtual exhibition. Contact your local newspaper and offer to email your exhibition to anyone interested.”

December 14 suggests a sex strike and goes on to tell about how sex strikes have been used around the world, like in Columbia to protest against drug wars, in Poland to fight for legal abortion and in Amsterdam, Sudan and Turkey for various reasons.

Paging through, there are actually some really cool, human-rights-oriented suggestions I wouldn't have thought of otherwise and other general niceties to make people around you smile.

And so it was a bit ironic what happened next.

Just outside the shop, I was approached by a guy about my age, holding a compass. I avoid people with clipboards and people who look like they will beg for money, but the compass intrigued me. He said, “Excuse me. I was wondering if you could help me.”

When he held up the compass, I was sure he was going to ask for directions. Around these parts, people tend to carry their trusty A-Z instead, so I was intrigued.

He explained then that he was on a sort of mission. His two friends approached. One held a bottle of purplish-blue nail polish. The other held a Mars bar.

The mission? Start with a pen. Exchange pen with random stranger for another random object. Take random object and approach another stranger. Try for another random object. And so on. The purpose? I guess to make people smile and for a bit of amusement.

So this guy wanted to trade his compass for.... anything? I only carry my wallet when I go to lunch, so I didn't think I had anything to give him, though I liked the idea of it. I checked anyway and produced a card good for free flip flops from Victoria's Secret with any Pink purchase. Useless? It is now, since it's only good in America, but his friend snapped it up and gave me the bottle of nail polish.

We all walked away grinning at the ridiculousness of it all. Another random reason I love this city.

Now I'm really curious as to whose nail polish it once was...hmm. And who will end up with my useless card... and for what? Oh, the possibilities...

1 comment:

knicksgrl0917 said...

hey! i'm going to cali this weekend and won't be back until september...here is the website i was talking about where i made extra summer cash. Later! the website is here