My favorite place to buy Mega Million tickets is at Charlie’s Grocery on Elm Street in Greensboro, so I returned there to get my stack of 51 tickets (50 to give away and 1 for me to keep.) It was First Friday in Greensboro, so many downtown businesses were open late with variety of festivities—art openings, music, performances. Janie, a UNC Greensboro student who is working with me for a semester, teaches children’s art classes in the Cultural Center building and suggested we collect dreams there that evening. It was a freezing cold night; people were happy to be inside milling around at the various events.
On my way to the Cultural Center, I realized that I might know some people who were out celebrating first Friday and that thought made me uncomfortable. I prefer to ask strangers to share their dreams with me. I don’t want anyone to change what they write because they know I’ll read it. I knew a handful of people, and only one of them was hesitant to participate. She stated that she wasn’t ready and needed time to come up with a good dream, but her companion for the evening cajoled her into writing down her desires.
Janie and I split up and collected dreams from a diverse array of people. One man couldn’t understand why we would be interested in his dreams and why we were giving out free lottery tickets. “There must be some catch,” he repeated while his friends gladly scribbled down their dreams. As the conversation progressed he was convinced that “dreaming” was okay and shared his desire—to pay Trader Joe’s to open a store in Greensboro so he didn’t have to drive to Winston-Salem to shop. While Janie was waiting for a group of people to record their dreams, a woman approached her and inquired if she was part of “Random Acts of Art.” Instead of sharing her dreams, this woman gave Janie a gift of a print of a red bird that she made.
Another woman told Janie she was not interested because playing the lottery was black magic.