Per Zach Dodson:

For one month, 30 days, each day you must approach a stranger and 1. tell them something awkward about yourself AND 2. ask them an uncomfortable/personal question. And record the results. That’s 30 strangers.

Now, there aren’t too many restrictions, but the group of strangers must be demographically varied, and there should be a variety of questions as well. I.E. asking 30 cute drunk boys at the rainbo whether they wear boxers or briefs is not going to fly.

Records of Assignment #2:

June 22
30something woman in line for coffee at Cafe de Luca.

Me: “When people ask me things like ‘Did you see Lost last night?!’ & I haven’t, I sort of feel like I failed.”
Woman: “Lost is a pretty good show.”
Me: “Do you think you’ve failed?
Woman: “Do you need something?”
Me: “Uh…I’m good. Thanks.”

June 23
Guy with bike on Damen, waiting for woman with double-stroller to pass.

Me: “Sometimes when I see ridiculously small dogs, I imagine punting them off of a high roof, watching them soar out of sight.”
Guy: “….”
Me: “Do you like Prince?”
Guy gets on bike, rides away.

June 24
40something woman at State & Adams.

Me: “I think Jimmy Buffett is not without his charms.”
Woman: (nothing)
Me: “Do you think you are a good person?”
Woman: (turns & walks away)

June 25
Diner in the cafeteria of the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business.

Me: “I spend too much time on line.”
Him: “God, don’t we all.”
Me: “Do you think Sean Connery is an attractive man?”
Him: “The years have been good to him, yes. Enjoy your salad.”

June 26
Blue Line Shebeast.

Me: “Every morning, I do fifty lunges while I’m getting ready. To keep in shape.”
Brunhilda: (nothing)
Me:“Do you work out?”
Brunhilda: “I am DOING a CROSSWORD.”

June 27
Student Waiting for Bus.

Me: “My hands get really clammy in this humidity.”
Her: “Hmm.”
Me: “Do you think you read enough?”
Her: (snorts, sets book on knee) “I read more than enough. I read too much. Like pregnant women eating for their babies? I’m reading for everyone.”
Me: “Do you review books?”
Her: “Huh? No. It’s a metaphor.”
Me: “…The bus is here.”

June 28
Ticket seller @ LaSalle Street Metra Station.

Me: “I have this desperate need to prove myself.”
Her: “Excuse me?”
Me: “Oh, I was just saying that I have this desperate need to prove myself.”
Her: “Ohh.”
Me: “What did you want to be when you grew up?”
Her: “Mm. Everything.”

June 29
Young boy (13ish?) standing in line at Walgreen’s.

Me: “I keep buying things I don’t need.”
Young boy: (stares)
Me: “Do you think any of the things here can bring any sense of fulfillment to people?”
Young boy: walks away

June 30
Young Female Clerk @ Corner Bakery.

Me: “What sort of shampoo do you use?”
Her: “Suave. I like the coconut stuff.”
Me: “Like a piña colada in your hair.”
Her: “Kinda! Is this for here or to go?”
Me: “To go. I make lists of the really nice products I wish I could use but can’t afford to buy.”
Her: “Holy shit! I do the same thing! …I’m sorry, what did you order?”
Me: “I didn’t.”
Her: “Oh.”

July 1
Girl with Giant Sunglasses on North Bus.

Me: “How do you know when you’re reaching your own limits?”
Her: “What?”
Me: “How do you know when you’re reaching your own limits? Like, how do you know you’ve overstretched yourself, you know?”
Her: “I have no idea.”
Me: “I think I waste a lot of my time.”
Her: “Probably.”

July 2
Child on Green Line.

Me: “You make me feel old.
Child: [laughs]
Me: “Do you know that you will be old some day?”
Child: [laughs]

July 3
Taste of Chicago Attendee, Balding White Man wearing wedding band.

Me: “I’m a liar.”
Man: [dirty look]
Me: “Have you ever lied your wife?”
Man: [walks away]

July 4
Very, Very, Very Drunk Woman at Taste of Chicago.

Me: “Have you ever done something you regret?
Her: “I REGRET NOTHING!”
Me: Whe-
Her: “HAVE A BEER! DON’T REGRET ANYTHING!”

July 5
Clerk at The Goddess & the Grocer.

Me: “I think you base your opinion on me because of where I live.”
Her: “Ok.”
Me: “Do you?”
Her: “I don’t even know you. Whatever.”

July 6
I FORGOT. FAIL.

July 7
Boy (20something, skinny jeans) at Starbuck’s resembling my youngest brother.

Me: “How much does family matter?”
Boy: [kind of terrified] “Idunno…a lot?”
Me: “I avoid my family a lot.”
Boy: [nervous laugh] “Ok.”

July 8
Vendor at MCA Farmer’s Market.

Me: “Do you believe in revenge?”
Him: “I guess it depends.”
Me: “I think my parents raised me pretty well.”
Him: “You’re luckier than most.”

July 9
Woman reading Marie Claire at Art & Science.

Me: “I’ve gained a lot of weight in the last year, mostly from drinking, & it makes me feel really weird.”
Woman: “You have got to be kidding.”
Me: “Do you ever feel weird about things like that?”
Woman: “We’re in a beauty salon. I think that’s obvious.”

July 10
Older woman in Walgreen’s cosmetics section.

Me: “I always assume I have way more time than I do, & I wind up getting nothing done because of it.”
Woman: “Hmm.”
Me: “What would you change about your life if you could?”
Woman: “I’m pretty good.”

July 11
Older (40something) man at Logsdon 1909 Opening.

Me: “I am completely unqualified to review any of this.”
Man: “That doesn’t matter. Just be receptive.”
Me: “Do you think you could create something better than this?”
Man: “I think that’s an unfair question. But yes.”

July 12
Police Officer, State & Adams

Me: “Hi, hi. Can I ask you a question?”
Him: “You just did.”
Me: “I did. Ha. Why did you decide to devote your life to serving other people?”
Him: “Hmm. Seemed like the right thing to do.”
Me: “Fair enough. I got rejected from the graduate schools I applied to.”
Him: “I’m sorry to hear that.”

July 13
Nanny in at Hyde Park playground*
* She informed me that she was a nanny.
Me: “Do you hope to have kids like this someday?”
Woman: “I have kids.”
Me: “I think pregnancy is horrifying.”
Woman: “It’s scarier once they’re born.

July 14
#72 Bus Driver

Me: “Who do you never want to see on your bus?”
Driver: “I don’t care.”
Me: “I’m afraid of running into the people who I know don’t like me.”
Driver: “Just sit down.”

July 15
I FORGOT. FAIL.

July 16
High-schoolish looking girl holding baby.
Me: “What do you hope for?”
Her: “Fuck you.

July 17
Streetwise Man near Symphony Center

Me: “Why do you sell Streetwise?”
Him: “I had to get my shit together.”
[no statement about myself]

July 18
Boy with Backpack walking down 57th Street, Hyde Park

Me: When I watch Project Runway, I pretend I’m one of the models & I yell at the designers.
Him: [walks starring dead ahead]
Me: What do you fantasize about?
Him: [turns off street, into store]

July 19
Tight-pants boy at Hungryman Gallery

Me: “I’m judging all of this.”
TPB: “Everyone here is.”
Me: “Are you judging me?”
TBP: “Yes.”

July 20
Cashier @ Target, Orland Park, IL

Me: “I don’t have the money to cover this.”
Cashier: “Ha, oh, I know how that feels.”
Me: “No. I really don’t. How can you allow me to do this?”
Cashier: “…It’s just a job.”

July 21
Boy with White Glasses, Spats & a Pearl Necklace at Dick Blick

Me: “Do you try to be different?”
Boy: “Yeah, but I think that’s sort of obvious. Why?”
Me: “You just have a cool look. I watch people obsessively. Sometimes I imagine what their lives must be like.”
Boy: “Hmm.”

July 22
Elderly Woman at a park in Evanston, near Adult Day Care Center

Me: “I don’t plan on getting old. I just pretend it won’t ever happen.”
Woman: “Lots of people your age do that.”
Me: “How do you want to be remembered?”
Woman: “They’ve forgotten about me already.”

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