A Month of Regrets

Sept. to Oct. 2011: The Village Green: Woodstock

I decided to create a guerilla piece of art in relation to the Village Green. I walked the area very slowly looking closely at every object and plant. Attached to various no parking posts were cans labeled “butts” that I’d never really noticed. I wondered what else people might want to discard.

On Friday September 16th I attached two sets of painted cans on two posts. The larger cans read, “Discard your big regrets here,” and the smaller cans read, “Discard your small regrets here.” In addition, there was a clipboard with a small pad and an attached pen. I chose the date since we were expecting no rain for at least three days. The next day I found one of the cans on the ground by the post. I was able to repair and re–install it. I started collecting the regrets.  Misspellings are preserved.

Not having a chance yet to talk to an interesting person who I kind of know but not really.
Being here.
Drunkardness and disrespect
Voting for Obama, he sucks.
I regret: time wasted on regrets.
The way I acted during the Hurricane Irene weekend. With all. (sad face) Fixing I   hope. (happy face)
I wish I had been better husband
I regret not having started drinking yet.
That I have not been honest
I should have hugged my mother more.
Losing my engagement ring
Testy words to D.
My regret for the day was being nasty
I did necessarily hide something. I did not mean to hide anything small or big. I’m happy at 66 years.  (Translated from Italian)

On Sunday one clipboard was broken but it had been left stuffed in a big can and I was able to repair it. After that, I went prepared with tools, gloves, and paper towels in order to clean out the cans. No one seemed to pay any attention to me when I did the repairs or picked up the regrets.

Marrying that asshole
Letting fear hold me back
I regret that I spend way too much time thinking about what I regret
I dated a girl for two years and fell in love – fate led me the wrong way, so I starting Marijuana
Disagreeing with mom
I littered and then murdered my friend. I’m so sorry.
Not taking drugs and always attending class when I was in school
Not going to rehab sooner
Not calling back
I regret that there isn’t music on the streets in the evenings, 5-8 pm. With the shops open. I regret that it isn’t more festive.
O what humankind has done to this beautiful Mother earth!
Not getting sober earlier in life
I never did LSD
Much of my past
Having sex with the girls in my past
That I didn’t leave this person long ago.
I regret not creating my own financial independence.

Sometimes I hung out to watch people’s reactions: people took photos of the cans, some just smiled and walked away, some groups stopped to talk about the cans or their regrets.  Some stopped to write out a regret. I never saw anyone else remove the regrets but certainly anyone could have. With wet weather the regrets needed to be carefully dried. Most were legible.

I regret nothing. You learn from your mistakes.
Never had kids.
All the lies
I love you Woodstock (with a happy face)

Dear Universe/Goddess. Regret not helping mom more. Regret not utilizing my potential more (being scared). Regret not communicating better + ending relationships.  LIVE! (written on the back side)
I regret selling that mint 63 bug.
Sorry I’m too late for the pop festival. I come from France.
Sending that e-mail.
The last 20 years
Letting myself age
I regret sleaping with J.
Smoking cigs
God bless all
I should’ve gone outside more today
Being naughty
You are standing in front of what used to be a family bakery

I saw three young women hanging out by the cans and taking photos. We chatted. I asked if they wanted to put something in. One woman said, “I’ll think about it.”  I replied, “If you don’t have any regrets, don’t think about it.”

Haven’t finish high school
For everyone I am about to yell at for closing during storm. Family.
For all the people I ever judged in my lifetime
I regret that I’ve hurt my sister very much by hitting her.
Wasn’t nice to a lady at toy store for telling me to leave her sidewalk. Have to           bring her flowers God willing. I must apologize.
Being afraid…. Not waiting… not giving myself enough
Dating M.
I regret not having had my mom believed that I loved her
That I made a bad joke about my sister
Marrying my husband
Living with N.

I was surprised at how often people wrote names though I’ve only used initials here. I suspect they were mainly from the teens that also wrote some of the ridiculous ones.  One set of cans simply disappeared after two weeks. Only the wire was left on the post and I cut that off.

Not satisfying J’s sexual desires
Milk, it was a bad choice
I regret not wearing shorts today
I regret never having children
Moving away from California
I regret the loss of love
No finishing school
Not practicing Judaism and Sabbath
J not having a dance partner for a life partner
I regret not peeing before I went shopping.
I regret not stopping for that child in the middle of the road. At least there was a nice cornfield nearby to bury him.
I regret running over that nice pedestrian with my car. Oops. Always look both   ways!!!
Nitpickiness relating to D’s tendency to repeat himself and repeat same jokes
My fear of being important
Not having gone to Africa

I found myself saying to friends that I was off to town “to pick up my regrets.”  And then correcting myself to say, “They are not MY regrets; they are other people’s regrets.”  I have wondered to what degree people got some release from leaving their regrets in the cans. I never expected the cans to last a week without being vandalized. They have lasted a month. I’ve listed the regrets chronologically.

Marrying My Former Wife!
Not going to AZ in 1979
Not living life to the fullest and enjoying what I have
I regret fighting
I regret hurting M’s feelings today.
Forgot to appreciate college while I was there.
Ever meeting M
I regret eating meat.
“No Regrets” Billy Holiday. Great tune

I ran into a friend who said she thought the words on the cans were a bit hard to read since they went around the cans. She said, “Maybe it would be better if the letters went down the can.”  I said, “So you are having a regret about how the regret cans are painted?” And we both laughed.

Guerrilla Artist

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