AKIJAK: The 28 Before 28 Project – Update One

I am blown away with some of the awesome things that have come out of this project so far. The day I put up the original post, I received almost as many hits on my blog as the day I compared Jesus and Doctor Who fandoms. If only I had added some cats to the last post, I’m sure I could have hit a new record.

Seriously, though, I’m excited that people are interested in my project, and I’ll try to update every few days on my progress. Right at this very moment, I am at 2/28. The following is a little information on how I got to this point, as well as some general observations about the process. I’ve divided the notes about the process into the days on which I had each thought or experience. Some notes are running commentary of what happened that day, and some are expansions on the thoughts raised by that day’s events.

March 13th:

I’ve noticed that I am more engaged with my surroundings while in public, as I am now constantly looking for someone to ask. Instead of having my focus on the sidewalk ahead of me, my line of sight is up and looking around, wondering who would be a good candidate. I also contemplated when it is appropriate to ask people to participant. For instance, even if I get the cute bus driver, it’s not a good opportunity to ask him to participate. I don’t want to disrupt anyone at work, and I don’t want people to feel affronted or cornered when I ask them to participate. While on transit, I found myself mentally scanning my day for where/when I might find someone. Planning this project is taking a lot of mental power, and I hope it doesn’t interfere too much with my publishing goal – I want to finish the final edit of my novel and have it live for purchase before my birthday.

March 14:

I was thinking about how to approach people, and one huge thought came to mind: how do I know they aren’t a weirdo? Also important: how do they know I’m not a weirdo?

This led me into a lengthy internal monologue, the basic premise being that it’d be weirder if I tried “normal” ways of appearing legitimate while soliciting potential participants – like business cards. As much as it would be nice for people to know about the project so they don’t think I’m just trying to pick them up in the middle of the street, I highly doubt handing out my blog address is a good tactic.

A friend of mine has acted like a WingWoman and posted my project on her Facebook wall, so via that, I have a meeting set up with a stranger tomorrow. We are planing to meet in a public place, and we’ll see how that goes. I have someone in mind to ask tonight, and I think he counts because I’ve only met him once before while drinking with a friend of mine (who knows about the project).

I would ask cute guy at bus stop, but he is wearing headphones. I don’t want to pull anyone out of their bubble if they are listening to music. I’m also feeling self-conscious about chip breath, because I ate a bag of Bean Field between work and the bus stop.

It was about this point where I realized a pattern in my life: I nearly always wait for someone else to make the first move. Through this process, I am becoming more aware of people around me instead of walking with my head down – sort of forcing myself to be less shy. There is no problem with being shy (it is not something I am trying to “cure,” as I am comfortable that it is natural for me, and I am a fan of me), but I miss a lot when I’m in my own head. It is nice to come out every once in a while and take stock of what is happening around me.

My walk home takes me close to high school, and sometimes there are people gathered in the square nearby. I think that if I approach anyone in this vicinity, I’ll ask them for their date of birth before asking them to participate, just in case.

As a side note, here is some feedback I have seen online regarding the interest in the project, specifically how I am being described: pretty gutsy and impressive, brave, awesome, amazing. Shucks.

I received my first kiss for this project:

1. Pat, a friend of a friend, in the Fernwood Inn.

I knew the night would include drinking, so soon after we all sat down and finished the small talk about our lives since the last time we met, I asked my friend if he had passed on my project to his friend. He had not, so I explained, and Pat was emphatic about participating. It’s been quite a while since I kissed someone with a lip ring, so that was a nice touch. I quickly explained that even though I’d be doing updates on my progress, I wasn’t doing anything so crass as rating people’s technique. I enjoyed the flurry of excitement that came with kissing someone for the first time, even though I awkwardly pushed for us to do the deed before the drinks arrived, so we both had to stand up next to our table and kiss in the middle of the restaurant, with at least one human (my friend; his roommate) watching. Later in the evening, he asked me on a date.
March 15:

I specifically did not bring hummus for lunch and made sure I had gum when I gave up my Saturday to re-certify my first aid. You’d think there would be more mouth-to-mouth jokes about that day, but I honestly didn’t think of that connection until just now. Interestingly, there was someone in my course who had the same first and last name as first person I ever kissed, back when I was 11 years old and lived in Nova Scotia. I knew it would drive me nuts, so I asked him if he’d ever lived back East, but it wasn’t the same guy.

What are the chances, though? A project centred around first kisses, and my first kiss’ name sake shows up – strange.

2. David. Found me in Chapters, in the Graphic Novel section at 5:15pm, as per our arrangement.

That exchange went a little something like this:
He asked if I was Kathy, to make sure he had the correct person. We shook hands, and talked about how weird the weather is being. Yes, we actually talked about the weather. I am an awkward creature.

David: So, what’s the plan?
Kathy: I was going to kiss you, if you are still cool with it.
David: Okay.
(We kiss. He has long ringlets of hair that were incredibly soft, and it was this moment where I realized that I have a tendency to kiss people while holding the side of their face. We stop kissing, and return to being two random people in Chapters.)
Kathy: Thanks.
David: Thanks; have a nice day.

With that, he went down the escalator and I made notes for this project. I had some time to kill before volunteering, so I had a meal at a restaurant that has a high school friend as the bartender. We caught up – he grew a beard; I told him about my book and my project. He said he’d offer to participate, but he’s not a stranger. It’s nice to know that there are people who support my project.

Later, after I’d started drinking, I wished that all my days were lived in a way where I was free to look at everything – all possibilities of how a day could go. Where did self limit come from? I’m sure I had a lot more intelligent points to make, but Drinking Kathy isn’t a great note taker.

A note on drinking: as soon as I start, this project leaves my mind, as I don’t want to use liquid courage. A friend pointed out a potential candidate while we were playing pool, but I hadn’t even been thinking of it. I was drinking at an event last night, and didn’t even consider approaching anyone.

March 16:

I woke up at 4:45am this morning help a friend go to Vancouver, get things out of storage and try to get back before my Improv class at 3pm. It turns out there is no us to the first ferry of the day, so that didn’t happen. I had kind of been looking forward to asking random strangers on the ferry to participate, but the walk and the extra sleep upon returning home was fine with me, despite the disappointment this caused my friend. I had a back up plan, anyway.

My plan was to ask someone from my class. Were just started a new session today, so I knew that I would meet some new guys. This class, however, is much smaller than my previous classes, and the ratio of men to women is not typical for the class, either, so I only met two new men. I made an intention of asking one of them at the end of the class, as I promised my teacher that I wouldn’t make the first day awkward (in that way; some of my awkwardness cannot be helped).

As we were leaving and chatting about chocolate bars, I asked one of the new guys to participate, and he became the first person to reject me. I’m perfectly fine with it.

Him: I’m in a relationship right now; would that be cheating?
Me: That is between you and the person you are seeing.
Him: Can I get back to you on that?

So, perhaps, since we’ll still be strangers next Sunday, I might be able to out him on the list; however, I want everyone participating to be comfortable, and if people are in relationships and don’t want to cross boundaries, I am absolutely fine with that. However, I am about to spend the evening with people I know, so it looks like I won’t complete a kiss for today. Good thing there are a couple of grace days in this schedule.

A parting thought, which occurred to me on the way to class: I was contemplating how I don’t like being the centre of attention, and this strange parallel occurred in my brain between scripted verse improv theatre (a) and my reasoning for not just getting drunk and soliciting kisses (b).

a) I prefer scripts to improv because I know what to do, and if the audience doesn’t like it, I can never take all the blame, whereas if I kill an improv scene, it is like being shoved onto the stage in the nude. I never tend to have stage fright for a scripted performance, because I rehearse and prepare and know what is expected of me. I get very nervous when I have to make things up, and my brain stops working. I have to look for moments to drop my question regarding participating in this project, and that cannot be scripted, so I am not in my comfort zone.

b) Sure, I might get my numbers up faster if I drank and made an announcement in the middle of a crowded establishment (such as the venue last night; it was a Boylesque show), especially if I were to wear the same thing I wore while volunteering (lingerie tastefully covered by a vest, but much more cleavage showing than usual), but that’s just not my style. I don’t dress to impress, and I don’t want to change who I am to complete this project.


3 thoughts on “AKIJAK: The 28 Before 28 Project – Update One

  1. If I’d known I was getting a blog mention I would have said something way cooler like “Live long and prosper” or “Shiny.”

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