My dad and my grandmother both used to say “a smile makes a difference.”
They said it in the same context but with different motivations.
My grandmother meant smile as in it will light up your face and make you pretty. “People will like you more even if they don’t know why.”
My father meant smile as in appearing more approachable. And then he would warn me to be careful who I smile at to avoid being approached by the wrong someone.
One day when I was about 7, I was walking across a street with my sister on the way to school. I remember seeing a guy in his car at the stoplight who looked like on a stress scale of 1 to 10- 10 being on the verge of his head exploding- he was coming in at about a 19.
So I smiled at him. He looked like he could use a warm thought so this was my attempt to share that through a smile.
I remember he looked shocked at first and then relaxed and laughed. I remember the other drivers in the other cars at the light responding positively too.
I still believe they must have been thinking, “Poor stupid kid. She has no idea what life is like when you grow up.”
Or maybe they were thinking it would be nice to be young, innocent and somewhat naïve again. They could have been laughing more at the fact that I had to take two and a half steps for every one step my tall, leggy sister was taking. Or maybe they just thought I looked like a dork.
I don’t know.
I know that as I got older smiling had become so deeply embedded in me that I would smile and almost be mad at myself for going on autopilot with it.
I’m not sure why.
Maybe because I felt like I was offering a small piece of kindness but it was frequently met with irritation, expectation, and rudeness. You know, like a “people taking your kindness for weakness” knid of thing.
I’d give anything to be the sort of person to let a door slam on the person coming in behind me. Or bump someone out the way to get into a line first.
And that car that darts into traffic and weaves in and out of lanes as if to say, “If y’all don’t want to muck up your cars, you need to do what you gotta do to accommodate me.” I secretly admire that guy.
So I was originally looking around for a random Pharrell picture to post because it’s been awhile. (I’m overdue for a gratitude post, too, but I noticed an unlucky pattern that I didn’t want to continue so no lists until I figure out what to do.)
Anyway, I found this picture.
What in tarnation? Is it me, or does she almost look prettier than him in this picture? That’s no small accomplishment because that is darn pretty man.
I wasn’t even sure it was the same chick I had been seeing in the other pictures but it had her name in the description so I guess it is. I mean, really, she should never not smile.
I realized in almost every picture I’ve ever seen of her she’s frowned up and nearly sneering like she just sucked a lemon that tasted a bit like foot. And it’s like, “you’re in a relationship with a good looking, smart guy who’s got more talent than the next 5 people I am likely to run into combined; what are you looking all bitter about?”
But that’s just appearances maybe.
Maybe he’s a good looking, talented smart guy who is also eccentric and never speaks, only grumbles at everyone.
Maybe he takes a special vitamin to keep his youthful appearance but it makes him gassy and he could fart you to the moon.
Maybe he’s the kind of guy who punches a girl every Thursday night because, dammit, it’s not Friday yet!
Or maybe she’s really a bitter person and the smile was a photographic accident taken at the exact right moment.
This is all speculation of course, and probably way, way far off the mark, but you know what I’m getting at.
Now my head’s all over the place, because that’s what I do with small things of little consequence.
I thought about my dad warning me not to invite an encounter I don’t want.
At the same time I thought about my grandmother encouraging me to let people know that I’m open to new people and life’s possibilities.
I thought about how way too much comes down to appearances anyway.
And I thought about how two people who go out in public frequently looking like they got dressed by running nude through someone’s laundry hanging in the backyard already knew that.
That’s really funny when you visualize it. And funny things make me smile.
RAMP – Daylight
This is a really beautiful song on a really twisted subject but I just found the official video for this and it’s a really, really, freakishly scary, creepy, almost gross video. I mean, really, this man is kind of scaring me a little bit.
But the song is nice.
Benny Mardones – Into the Night
And while we're sort of on the subject of dirty old men-
Steely Dan ~ Hey Nineteen