Monday, March 31, 2008

Unknowing smiles

The other day someone said to me: "Spec, why are you smiling?" I said: "I am?!" I wasn't even aware of it. As far as I was concerned I was probably looking blasé, but apparently I had a smile stuck on my face. I can't remember exactly what I was doing, but it must have been something 'routine' like work or waiting. I thought "Hmmm." Maybe somewhere within, I am happy and at peace, but am not conscious of it.

Then yesterday afternoon I was walking down the road to meet the French. A large pick-up truck passed by and the man driving it waved enthusiastically to me. I waved back, thinking I knew him. About one minute later he pulled up beside me (he had turned his van around and come back). He drove alongside me, gesticulating and calling out something about "Had to" and "smile". At that time someone had just called me on the cellular phone and I was talking, so couldn't make out what he was saying. I just waved and kept walking and talking. I didn't know him and thought he would drive off. But he turned the corner, stopped and waited for me to cross the road (by which time I was off the phone).

He got out of his pick-up and stood at a distance (perhaps respectful of the fact that in this age of crime it is best as a man to stay far when speaking to a woman who doesn't know you). He was staring at me, beaming and looking like he had just found some kind of treasure. "I had to come back and tell you!" he said (he had an English accent and looked like a mixed Indian/Anglo). His hair was wild like he had just been through a storm. I guess some people would look at him and think he was 'crazy', but I thought he just looked like 'himself'. He started to apologise for waving (maybe he felt he had to because he felt I would wonder why a stranger was waving to me) then said: "But I had to wave because you have the most captivating smile!"

"I was smiling?" I said, again not been aware that I had been.

"Yes! You were! And I had to come back and tell you to keep it! Keep it!" He was like a motivational coach in his energy. He went on about how the 'captivating smile' had made him turn around and come back and how 'it works'. "It works for you! Keep it" He looked so overjoyed and effusive, literally beaming.

I thanked him for stopping to tell me, he wished me a 'fabulous afternoon! And keep it!' ... to which I told him: "And you keep that wave" and continued walking.

That encounter made me think of a few things. First, the reason I had thanked him was not so much because of his appreciation of 'the smile', but because of the fact that he had turned around and stopped to tell me what he had felt in that moment. Not many people would do that. (i) They are afraid. (ii) They are too busy (iii) They might think the other would think they are crazy.

The next thing I thought was about 'being crazy'. When anyone looks 'too happy', in public (especially when alone), generally people tend to wonder: "What happen to she/he?" I remember once seeing a well-dressed woman walking down Maraval Road alone, smiling broadly for an extended period of time. People were staring at her as if she was mad. Another time there was a woman, absorbed in smiling and humming loudly to herself as she laid out her groceries for the HiLo cashier. The cashier was looking at her in that 'whappen to she" way, like she was crazy.

If extended smiling and humming are signs of lunacy, then what a pity we live in a sane world.



Blogger GirlBlue said...

humms to self happily

10:30 AM  
Blogger Andreamuse said...

*smiles a lot*

What a great story! :-))) I love that he stopped and told you!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Kimberlie Kranich said...

In the book, "Eat, Pray, Love," an Indonesian medicine man advises the author to meditate until you "smile in your liver."

3:43 PM  
Blogger Guanaguanare said...

Your inner joy cannot be suppressed. You aren't aware that you are smiling because it is happening so spontaneously and without conscious decisions from you. That's the proof that you are genuinely at peace. Let that always stay with you. By the way, June 15 is Smile Power Day, when people actually celebrate the healing power of smiles. Keep smiling!

3:59 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my marriage 23 years ago to a man who fell for me due to my smile (at him).
He first saw the smile 30 years ago (in Sept).

I love that the man was bold enough to come around and tell you he liked your smile and "to keep it".
What a wonderful event.
What a great day.
If that's crazy I will take crazy over sane any day of the week.

12:08 AM  
Blogger human being said...

Oh my! I'm crazy about such moments of celestial beauty when smiles work magic.
Let the sane eat the stale bread of everyday life. Just enjoy your being so fresh human.

I love the way you look at the world.
I don't care much if people think I'm some kind of lunetic when I express my joy of seeing a beautiful soul.
That's why whenever I come here I tell you how happy I'm when I read your words.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's what I call an angel. You are getting these messages in a way that could not be clearer nor louder. Wow.

7:35 PM  

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