Right now I’m sitting on a bus going south from Harlem into Midtown. Two weeks ago, after hearing lots of negative feedback from the homelessness project, I wanted to try scavenging for food in the trash bags of New York City.
I walked into a Whole Foods downtown and I got a call from the team leader.
“Are you here, yet?” she asks.
“I’m here, where are you?”
“We’re at the table on the right.”
I turned around to look for the table, and saw an old lady talking on a disposable cell phone.
“You must be Sophie.”
Digging in the Trash
She took me outside. Five minutes later I was crouched over a bag of garbage on the corner of 12th street outside a fancy grocery store. She pulled a handful of lettuce out of a trash bag, opened it up and took a bite. The vegetables were brown and I did the same. I’d never eaten out of the trash before, but now I know it’s possible.
Today in the subway a girl looked at me. She smiled and pointed her feet my way. I returned the compliment by pointing my feet at her and looking at myself in the mirror for a second, then turning my eyes toward her. After that her boyfriend kissed her, and she smiled at him instead. I pointed my feet away, but I’m pretty sure she noticed.
How Long Should a Challenge Be?
There was a TED talk about how anyone could do anything for 30 days. Well, I think my limit is 24 days – three weeks. That’s how to do anything, you limit the amount of time you have to do it.
I did a challenge last month where I would flirt or tease one new girl every day for a month. The challenge escalated each week: week one was just a little bit of flirting with any girl, and I ended up talking to a lot of bank tellers and people behind counters.
Week two I had to flirt or tease one girl each day, and it couldn’t be anyone who worked for a store.
I asked one girl where the Empire State Building was. We were in Times Square, and moments before I was struggling to find anyone to talk to. She came out of nowhere and I asked her how to get to the building. She pointed to the clearly visible rooftop and said to go that way. I teased her about having a backpack that was too big for her body. She laughed.
I Want to Get a Tattoo
I wrote a post a few months back about what Spongebob Squarepants can teach us about marketing, and the main point of the post was that everything you do has to be remarkable. If you don’t do things people want to talk about, nobody will talk about what you’re doing. Tattoos are the same way – if you get a tattoo of something simple like a smiley face on your hand, or something overdone like a tribal armband, nobody is going to point it out, and you’ll be stuck with this piece of body art that draws no attention to itself.
What I’ve been slowly learning is that the best tattoos represent something meaningful, something that tells a story. The same is true for everything in life.