James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

32: Fistbump a Stranger

Fistbump a Stranger

My fianceé C'ne told me a tiny story on Friday and it really reminded me of how the small acts of others can really brighten someone else's day. Surprisingly, it was one of the stories on public transit that go well.

That Thursday she was having quite a terrible day, a complete funk if you will where everything was going wrong. As she was walking onto the crowded, rush hour train home, she was standing next to a little girl that had to be around 4 years old–wideyed and optimistically looking up and everything around her surroundings. Out of nowhere she set out her hand towards C'ne in the fist bump motion, all while keeping a smile on her face. C'ne said that she couldn't deny a request for a fist bump so she completed the action, much to the delight of the little girl who lit up with joy all while her mother was unaware. C'ne told me that her small action was enough to brighten her spirit for the rest of the day, and I'm sure this little girl didn't even know it.

When we are in our own bubbles, it's so easy to forget others. Either we are working hard on a project, worrying about how our "brand" is being perceived online, or simply we are having a funk of a day, all we (technically) have to care about is ourselves, I mean that's all we are accountable for in this world right? But what would it take if we placed someone else in our forefront for a moment, without expecting anything at all in return. If you donated or helped someone and didn't tweet about it, did it really happen? Much like that little girl (who just wanted to have some fun with someone else), you really don't know the story of your fellow train riders, passersby, neighbors, bus driver, or even relatives.

What are some ways that you've "fistbumped a stranger" or given a random act of kindness to a someone without expecting anything in return? Let me know and hit reply by Friday at 5pm CST. How rad would it be to share these moments and let them grow?

Have a great Monday and see you next week,

-James

What did I find interesting this week?

1) Kanye West Will Probably Never Go Apple Picking: I'm a part of Nick Disabato's mailing list and this weekly piece reminded me the joys of the small things, being successful in your field but still keeping enough distance where you can enjoy moments with loved ones.

2) Why Bikes Make Smart People Say Dumb Things: As a bike-rider myself, this piece shows how a NPR journalist's off-handed tweet about bicyclists uncovers the real holes in the debate on urban cycling.

3) Inboxes Zero: Merlin Mann on anxiety, relationships and expectations – BTTDL059: “Fear is 'the bear that is about to attack you.’ Anxiety is ‘I just know in my heart that a bear is about to attack me.’" I revisited this older episode on one of my favorite podcasts. The quote above really resonated with me.

4) Silencing Many Hospital Alarms Leads to Better Health Care: This NPR article touches on alarm fatigue and how the consisting beeping can actually lead to worse health care. Surprisingly if you change some of the words to read "phone notifications", it applies the same.

5) How 'Doug' Pioneered A New Era of Kids' TV: Nickelodeon's "Doug" (one of my favorite shows from my childhood) turned 15, so this piece did a nice investigation into the history of the show, including character analysis, an interview with the creator Jim Jenkins, and explains why there are no explicitly defined ethnicities in the show.

6) E19: Technology in Communities of Color: I was interviewed on WSTS Radio podcast to chat about the use and consumption of technologies in communities of color–reflecting on the (1) evolution of digital technology and the internet, (2) capitalism and consumerism, as well as (3) technology apartheid and the privilege of access.

James T. Green