I put a blank notebook in my Lyft. This is what happened.

Two weeks ago, I put this notebook in the back of my car while I was Lyft-ing around Los Angeles.

My reasons for doing so were twofold.

I think most people don’t have enough (read: any) time to be creative during a typical day; when we’re not busy staring at screens, we’re usually asleep. And the second, entirely selfish reason: I was curious to see what people would choose to create in a 5–9 minute car ride across town.

How to use the Book of Things. Step 1: ignore it for a while.

The first couple of days were rough. People would get in and sit directly next to this book with big, block letters screaming OPEN ME and proceed to go about their texting and absentminded app swiping for the entire ride.

Days went by without anyone touching it, except to move it over or knock it on the floor. Some people looked at it inquisitively, with the same pained grimmace usually reserved for glancing at a stray cat, before quickly diving back into their phones.

I was slightly dumbfounded. I didn’t think everyone would want to write or draw something. But I also didn’t think no one would. Regardless, I was determined not to bring it up; no one wants to be the weird Lyft driver forcing people to write stuff in an empty notebook. That’s not a great look.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe people didn’t want to be creative? Maybe all we actually wanted to do was swipe?

But just as I was about to take it out of the back seat, people started picking it up. And opening it. And laughing to themselves. Then grabbing a colored pen and getting to work. Some people would comment on what they left, others would scribble away in silence.

People asked (and gave) book recommendations:

My favorite is the pink pen — she really wants us to know she’s going to read more.

And posed thoughtful questions:

Harry Potter fan for the win. (Direclty after writing that she laughed, “I spelled Hogwarts wrong.”)

Or just drew nice things to each other:

Reminding us what’s important:

This person obviously nailed second grade Thanksgiving.

And also dragons:

This was completed on a freeway. With construction. And traffic. Always traffic.

People got in touch with their inner child:

“I wanted to be the firetruck. Not a fireman; the truck was way cooler.”

And realized big things:

Book of Things makes you refelct. It’s not always pretty.

My favorite part? That people were nice and kind and chose to leave positive, uplifting messages. Almost entirely snark-free.

At a time when it’s all to0 easy to see the worst in humanity rearing its ugly head around every corner, it’s helpful to be reminded that deep down, at the end of the day, we all just like to doodle.


See what people leave by following @BookofThings on Instagram and liking the Facebook page.

*If you don’t already have Lyft, you can download it here and get $50 worth of rides (and I get $10, so thanks for that).

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