Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why I Do Not Smile

The man at the back of the bus has a black tattoo on his neck.  I unconsciously try to figure out what the image is as my brain chews on other sensory information.

"Hey!  Smile; you're beautiful" the man calls to me.

I hadn't been aware of doing anything particular with my face, although I suppose he singled me out because I was looking the way of his tattoo.  I did not find his comment creepy.  I can see where I could easily have felt so, but I didn't.  I tried hard not to smile from embarrassment.  To smile when commanded to do so feels insulting somehow.  It feels like giving acknowledgement to the idea that another has power over me, that I didn't agree to give.

However, I did say "thank you" and allowed, not so much a smile as a softening to occur in his general direction.  I didn't want him to have further purpose in engaging me.

What I did find creepy was the man sitting next to him who started to speculate on why I might not be smiling.  I heard as much as "she's just pretending to be living with some guy" before I forcibly excluded their conversation from my ears by focusing on the hum of the bus.

Why do you need to make up stories about me and why you don't get the response you want from me?  Why must it revolve around a situation that I'm in and not your choice of how to interact with me?  I have answers to these questions; but the answers I can think of make it sad, a sad thing of the world and of you.

1 comment:

  1. I've found that people make up stories all the time: about themselves, others, others and themselves, work, pleasure, the beach, the road, the sky... It's little wonder that it's difficult to get to know someone who is telling stories to hirself almost all the time. Such people (that's 95% of us) tell themselves *so* many stories that they can't find reality without considerable help plus a flashlight.