Monday, September 24, 2007

Meet the locals, part 2

On a boring weekend, turn to the local newspaper’s community pages where organizations around town list the free or fund-raising activities they’re running this week. The chances of finding something you’d actually want to do are pretty slim, but try doing something you’d never have dreamed of doing.
Maybe the local hardware store is running an information session on how to fix a tap – not only will you gain a new skill, you’ll meet all those retired old guys who have nothing better to do than go to an information session on how to fix a tap. Maybe the local walking group is going for a hike out of town, giving you the chance to stretch your legs and have a chat with people who like wholewheat spaghetti and soy cheese. Or perhaps there’s a quilting show on at the town hall where you can adopt yourself a new grandma and get a few smocking tips.
There’s a good chance you’ll be bored out of your mind before half an hour has passed, but who knows: you might find that what your life has been missing all along is painting watercolors of dried flower arrangements. Either way, when your friends ask what you did on the weekend, you’ll have something to say.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Historical brain transplant

Maybe it’s not your home town you’re sick of. Maybe you’re sick of you. While the science of brain transplantation is not entirely perfected, there are other options for escaping the prison that is your skull (and no, we’re not talking about a ride on the peyote highway).

Instead of asking such vague questions as ‘What would Jesus do?’, try asking ‘What would Jesus do if he got to Kmart and the advertised special on fleece throw rugs was all sold out and the woman on the desk wouldn’t give him a raincheck and he was late for a meeting with his CEO?’. Or, for example, what would Genghis Khan do if he'd forgotten it was his four-year-old daughter's birthday this weekend and he had only two days to organise a children's party?

First, write the names of famous people on slips of paper. Second, write the names of places around town on other slips of paper. Randomly pull a slip from each bunch. What do you know: you’re Cleopatra, and you’re trying to buy a used car.

It might be pushing it to show up to the used car lot and pretend to be Cleopatra (but if you’re keen, hey, go for it!). But you might enjoy the exercise of doing everyday things while imagining you’re someone entirely different. For example, browse cupcake recipes online while imagining you’re Genghis Khan, then write up your experiences (as Genghis, of course) on your blog. Want more? Have all your friends choose a slip each from the ‘famous person’ pile, all visit the same spot from the ‘places in town’ pile, and each write up your experiences.