Sunday, September 15, 2013

emails to strangers

here are two emails i sent to strangers this week.


i just read your piece on BGD about your name.

you are awesome.

i am familiar with this concept where some white people think they get to stand in judgement of all other people's names. your name shouldn't have to be an act of resistance, but it ends up being that for arrogant douch-canoes who think somehow their culture is the defining apex of all of creation.

if you ever decide to change your name, maybe change it to something like jean-phillipe or even doorknob. charles-marie o'hara.

you know, something that will REALLY stop a conversation.

but no. 

sometimes, i guess you just want to wear a name you like and are comfortable living in and not have people try to assess your right to wear it.

a long time ago when i was younger and more foolish, i was working as a cashier at a discount store and a woman whose full name was moonbeam wrote a check and when i got all nervous about her writing a check as "moonbeam", she simply put her driver's license down on the counter and said flatly "if it's good enough for the state of vermont, it ought to be good enough for you."

lesson learned.

i am educable.

even so, here is a thing i long to do: go up to women named bambi and ask them if they are not aware that BAMBI IS A BOY'S NAME!!! 

it would not be polite and it only reinforces the concept of the gender binary and the idea that some names can only be worn by a particular gender, but i still think it is funny.

i hope you are having a great day.


pick up some basic things: camera, notepad, some money.

leave your desk and go outside.

turn left.

go three blocks (or one kilometer, whichever comes first) find the nearest public transportation stop. get on the first bus (train, whatever) that comes. ride fours stops, get off, take your first two left turns, go about 50 meters and strike up a conversation with the first person you see.

if they do not cooperate, keep approaching people until someone will talk to you.

offer to take them to coffee (lunch, dinner, whatever).

keep doing this until someone accepts.

record all your results.

have a nice day.


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