Saturday, May 16, 2009

A good smile

I once, in what now feels like a previous lifetime, did some research into some linguistic devices referred to as 'politeness strategies'. These devices have nothing to do with what is normally understood as politeness and thus I'll spare you the joy of hearing more about them (trust me, you would just skip the explanation).

I will however let you in on one of the things that makes me love Africa.

She looks you in the eyes and smiles a genuine smile. "Hello, how are you today ma'am?"

Who is she?

She is the hotel cleaning lady in the morning. She is the waitress in the bar. She is the cashier in the supermarket. She is the woman passing you in the hallway. She is the parking attendant at the market. She is is the beggar at the traffic lights. She is the woman sitting at the next table at breakfast.

He smiles with all of his teeth flashing and makes to help you with your bag.

Who is he?

He is the groom from the wedding party in the restaurant. He is the guy sweeping at the entrance way. He is the man walking towards his car at the parking lot. He is the man fixing the elevator. He is the man trying to sell you a carved table.

I do love a good smile and wish the rest of the world did too. And I have finally learnt to ask the all important question and actually listen to the answer too.

I have decided to be in a fabulous mood today.

Bear with me.

22 comments:

marathoner81 said...

Ohhh...a fabulous mood - how fabulous!

I love when people smile and say hi. It would make the world a better place if everyone did it!

Enjoy your fabulous mood today.

I have a small to mild wine hangover...not sure how well my day is going to go.

julochka said...

the danes could definitely use some of this. smiling. looking at other people. acknowledging that other people exist. realizing that other people exist. (i could go on, but i don't want to wreck your fabulous mood.)

i like how you said, "i have decided to be in a fabulous mood today." i think it really can be that easy.

but i'll bet the sun is shining where you are, that makes it easier too.

corn.

Extranjera said...

Thanks guys!

I agree that if people would just acknowledge each other the world would be a better place.

julochka - as much as I love Finland and Denmark, it never seizes to amaze me how transparent I can become when for example paying for groceries. Not even a hello...

And, yes the sun is shining as usual. There is a method to my madness after all, and a part of it involves living in countries without cold and dark. I can forgo snow without blinking. (She can't be Finnish, can she?)

Jelica said...

If you want to see smiling people, erase Hungary from your map--being grumpy is a national sport here.

Enjoy your fabulous mood :)

corticoWhat said...

MMmmm.....irrational sense of well being. You could be having a stroke.

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

See, I knew we would be on to something else other than corn today. I am with you on the whole politeness thing. We Canadians are often known on the international stage for our politeness and such, but at home is not quite the same.

Seaside Girl said...

There is nothing I like better than to disconcert a really grumpy waiter or cashier by smiling and asking them how they are doing. Only if I have the energy though - otherwise I just scowl back.

Extranjera said...

Jelica - I think quite a lot of Europe is unfortunately pretty surly, but I'll make a note of that...

corticoWhat - Nope, still just enjoying the high.

VEG - Took a lot of effort, but I made it away from corn (maybe). Am now into drums. there is a wedding going on nearby and they've been going at it for hours now. Drums, that is. Not what our guttermind was suggesting...

Seaside girl - I'll see how it goes for me in Europe now that I'm totally into the lets talk about pur families for a minute before ordering a latte. Should be interesting.

Kirsi said...

:-)

The Fragrant Muse said...

Lovely post.

When I encounter unsmiling "customer service personnel" (especially if they are taking my money) I ask, "are you having a bad day? You seem unhappy". They are often embarrassed to be caught hating their job or their life, but I do get a smile.

Cyndy said...

Thanks. Now my day is better, too!

Pattern and Perspective said...

If you could find a place where hippes still roam free (a commune of sorts), I'd bet you see lots of smiles (although, they are probably caused by some sort of psychoactive drug). However, I do like when I am in a shop and an older person passes by and makes a smile that is genuine. I always wonder what they are thinking, but I think I overthink what it is they are thinking and they are probably just thinking "what a nice girl".

Anyway, nice post.

Extranjera said...

Kirsi - Exactly!

Muse - Awesome. Keep at it.

Cyndy - Thanks! Have had a beautiful day.

P & P - Next weekend's excursion: Locate a hippy colony (I kid). Enjoy your alone time!

caroldiane said...

the trick is not just asking but listening to the answer as you pointed out - BIG SMILES to you from w-a-a-a-a-y over here on Vancouver Island (almost shouting distance to VEG)in Canada!

Pattern and Perspective said...

Ah, yes. Alone time. There are 3 liters of rum in the cabinet. I rarely rarely drink, but maybe now that he's gone..it's a good time to have one and really relax and watch crap on the boob tube. I just won't pour it too stiff, plus I'll add some Dr.Pepper (#1 it's the only soda in the house #2 can't drink that shiz straight)

My name is Erin. said...

I do believe that happiness is largely a decision. Sure life can hand you a shit-sandwich from time to time, but what we choose to do with it makes all the difference.

I have a HUGE smile and I believe that it was put on this here face of mine for a reason. To use it. And I do! I often use a similar tactic as Muse and it usually works. Also... the people in the Mid-Western and Inland Northwestern U.S. states tend to be pretty damn friendly. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, but I just smile and say hello anyway. Because smiling is Awesome!

I'm so glad your day was rad.

Extranjera said...

caroldiane - Thanks. I think I'm finally getting to the point where I actually pay attention to what other people are saying. Took me long enough.

P & P - How's the head today then?

Erin - Totally on that wagon too. I have a huge (and rather gummy) smile too and I'm not afraid to use it. Unless I'm scowling and being all Finnish. Rad. Corn.

Pattern and Perspective said...

Just dandy. I started to drink a cup, then the bf called and called me a drunk (hello, I had only one sip?) -- so I poured it out. Men stink sometimes:) Plus, I never would have got anything done. (Wait, I actually haven't been doing anything)

Extranjera said...

P & P - Oh you must not let the men in your life run your life... Kudos on not doing anything! That's the thing. ;o)

M.J. said...

=0 :) =}

Extranjera said...

M.J. - That's what I'm talking about.

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.