Sunday, April 3, 2011
Day 9 - Friday night fun + brainstorming
On Friday night M and I decided to try and come up with solutions for these 7 mirrors. It seemed important for us to work together on this because we'll be living in the same place soon, and M is not planning to give up mirrors during the project. No need for him to become a martyr for my cause, right? Anyway, our Friday night brainstorming ended up being a little rough, but I guess that's always a risk when you start grandiose planning sessions in your neighborhood bar. (BTW, all foosball-loving Los Angeleans should check out The Wellesbourne in West LA - cool British Library-esque decor, delicious bicker-inducing drinks, and... foosball!)
After scoring a prime people-watching table, we ordered a first round, and settled into our seats. To get started brainstorming, M drew a diagram on the back of a drink menu. It listed all of the mirrors I encounter before leaving my condo. We decided to try tackling the mirrors in the same order that I see them on my way out the door each morning. Unfortunately, we got stuck on the first one...
It's fitting for this project that an entire wall of my bedroom is: a mirror. I have one of those very large sliding-door closets in my room, and both doors are mirrored. When I wake in the morning, if I sit up in bed and look straight ahead... I'm staring at myself in a huge freaking mirror. Not the best way to start this project (not to mention my mornings!), eh?
So, M and I tried coming up with ideas for how to make this HUGE mirror a non-issue. M's first suggestion: "close the black-out shades in the bedroom, and never, ever, turn on the lights." He exuberantly wrote the words "pitch dark" on the diagram, linked to the "closet" mirror node. (I scanned the diagram so you can see, to the right)
I assumed he was kidding. Maybe mocking the whole project? I wasn't amused, and it showed in my face. I said "ummm... can't we, like, brainstorm practical solutions?"
Oops. M was not kidding. He was serious. To clarify, it turns out he wasn't terribly attached to the idea that we should instate a perma-blackout in our bedroom. However, he was really serious about the process of brainstorming, itself. M recently went through some formal training on creative brainstorming at work, and I apparently broke the cardinal rule: when brainstorming, one should not critique ANY idea. Criticism disrupts the flow of ideas, and - more importantly in this case - my knee-jerk scoffing had offended him and kind of hurt his feelings. I felt embarrassed to be the jerk, but also a little defensive; my project, right?
M suggested that, if it's my project, maybe he should just let me do it however I want, and not be involved in any of it. The tipsy control-freak in me found the idea slightly tempting, but I knew that this was just his knee-jerk reaction to my knee-jerk reaction. Besides, up until that minute, I'd really been looking forward to making plans with M for the project. I need his support, and want his involvement. Besides... last thing I need was to piss off the guy responsible for telling me if I'm leaving the house with arugula in my teeth! Embarrassed, I apologized. He accepted, but I could tell he was still kind of disappointed.
We started over, but could't seem to find that brainstorming groove we had both been romanticizing.. Still, we chipped away at the plans for a few minutes, and figured out a few things:
First, we're going to hang a curtain in front of our bathroom mirror, so M can open it when he's in the bathroom. I silently wondered if he'll forget to close this curtain at around the same rate that he forgets to put down the toilet seat (around 90%), but decided not to mention it. I wondered if I'd be able to make curtains that actually look cool, and not like a puppet show is about to commence in my bathroom (suggestions welcome!).
Second, to avoid the full wall of mirrors in the entryway to our condo building, I'll be taking the back stairs to get to my car from this day forward. I felt seriously bummed that I won't be able to pick up our mail from the front hall anymore, which has always been a daily pleasure of mine. Also, the back stairs lead to a mildly creepy and very stinky alleyway, where homeless people sometimes retire at night. I remembered that I hadn't run into any problems while taking out the trash over the past few years, and consoled myself by envisioning the buns-of-steel I'll develop over 11 months of climbing 9 extra stairs each day. Besides, this idea completely solves a major mirror problem.
M and I were still at the bar at this point, but we were both sick of talking about mirrors. You're probably sick of reading about them! M suggested that we try another round of brainstorming in a day or two, and mentioned that he'd like to use dry-erase markers to draw a massive brainstorming diagram on... the huge mirror in my bedroom. I loved the idea and agreed to call it a night. We played a game of foosball, and got a real kick out of how awful we both were. With more luck than skill, we both managed to score 3 points against the other, and decided to quit while equally ahead. :)
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