Thursday, March 10, 2016


"Just Smile"- #Sol16

Day 10

DON'T PANIC. This is Day 10. 21 more to go!

I was oblivious to anything on the train today until I saw the ad. I was running dry on what to write for "Slice of Life" and started to panic because I have a lot of work today, and I do not want to give up or miss a day of blogging.  Writing every day has nourished me.  Suddenly,  just as I start to panic, I look up to see a bright yellow  Chiquita Banana ad,  with the words "Just smile." Its bright yellow imperative call catches my attention.

"Just Smile." It sounds so simple, but today I am exhausted and a bit grouchy. It's my time of the month. I know it is taboo to talk about "it." No worries I will not go into any details. 

I smiled all day while teaching, encouraging, and modeling. Now is my time to be, but the Chiquita Banana ad compels me to think about smiling, right now, on this rush-hour train. 

I was once told that we can convince ourselves we are happy by physically smiling. I would love to do the research now, but I have school work to do. Well, that last statement sounded a bit grouchy.

Now, I love to smile-always did since I was little. When I was little, some little girls stuck their tongues out at me in response to my smile.

Nowadays, as an adult, fellow adults cannot stick their tongues out at me. They either look away, look blankly straight at me, look at me weirdly, smile resignedly, or actually smile.

I am often surprised when people smile back. Should people only smile to each other if they are smiling about a shared experience? Should only people who know each other smile at each other? Do people feel like smiles need to be followed by talk?  Or can two strangers smile at each other while revelling in their own personal memories and tossing back that positive energy right into the universe?

I was going to try a "Just Smile" exercise now on the train, but as I look around people look a bit tired. I, on the other hand, just squeezed myself into a seat after about 5 stops of standing, lurching and leaning. At one point, I was so engrossed drafting ideas on my phone notepad, I forgot to move away from the opening doors on which I was leaning. I almost fell but caught myself when the door opened. I was a bit embarrassed. I dared not look up. Probably someone smiled when I almost fell? Who knows?

You would think I would have gotten out of my writing daze when a couple of minutes before a passenger stood up and came to stand right in front of me (a clear hint that the doors behind me were going to open). Last week, I missed my stop while writing. Today, I almost fell flat on my face.  I was so embarrassed by my potential fall, I purposely focused on regrouping my handbag handles as I regained my composure. 

Okay, if I smile now to standing people, they might think I am being selfish and smiling because I am comfortably sitting. I am too squished to try to see who is sitting by my side. Besides, the woman next to me just sighed.  I wonder if I would have noticed her sigh had I not been focused on seeing someone happily smile. Oh, one second. What stop is this? Next stop is mine. Why do I find seats when I am about to disembark? It's like finding a best friend two days before sleepover camp ends or discovering a great restaurant while on vacation after having eaten yucky food for days.

I have to smile before I get off, or this post will be a fail. Wait. I need to stop writing to smile. I need to look up and make eye contact. 

ANYONE? ANYONE? (reminds me of Ferris Bueller's Day Off)
I just looked up; no one is making eye contact. I catch this standing woman's eye, and I think she smiled. It may have been a remnant of the smile she had on as she spoke to another sitting passenger (whom she seemed to know already). As I look around for someone to smile to, everyone's head is bent over  their phone or Kindle-just like I am or was until I went looking for a smile. It's like they are thinking, "Don't call on me." (Oh my goodness, I need to leave my teacher mind at school.)

(In the Ferris Bueller's Day Off clip, the teacher is speaking about the Great Depression. He keeps making fill-in the blank sentences and asking, "Anyone? Anyone?"  When he asks whether the government's effort saved the country economically, he finally states that the efforts did not work and the United States "sank into the Great Depression."

Will I sink into a great depression since nobody smiled at me NO WAY?  I still need to take the bus.

 I even tried smiling as I got off the train, no luck. Oh, well.

I am on the bus now. I just looked up at one woman, made eye contact and smiled. She gave me a resigned no teeth showing smile: an "I am tired leave me alone type of smile." Not bad for a rainy day after 5 p.m. Maybe this woman's smile will trick her into having a happy evening. 

Okay, before I enter my home tonight, I will flash a smile at one more person. I tried to smile at the bus driver as I stepped off the bus and thanked him.  He wished me a good night but was already looking up the road on his way to the next stop.

Did I smile at my son upon my arrival? He was bent down over a book. He had to study for a test.  
Now, that deserves a smile. Your child studying diligently even before you've cooked dinner. Okay, just like that Billy Idol's song talks about "Dancing with Myself", I am now "Smiling with Myself."

I hope you are smiling now either because you are happy, or because you think what a "silly" entry this woman has written. Either way, I hope you are smiling.

*Some of the later parts of this entry were written at home. 


  1. I'm smiling reading about your smiling experiment on your commute home today. Today was a rainy day... I'm certain people would have smiled more openly had the sun been shining. I say openly because I like to think they were smiling back on the inside.
    What a wonderful message from the train ride home, and I love your phrase "bright yellow imperative."
    Please don't fall out of the train!!!

  2. Oh, yes you made me smile. What a creative slice this turned out to be. I loved the way you structured it. Very fun.

  3. This made me SMILE SO MUCH! I love how it's broken into pieces. I love the stream-of-consciousness quality to it. I love your self-deprecation. Thanks for sharing! (And I agree with Michelle, please don't fall out of the train!)

  4. I can't stop smiling reading your piece tonight! What a clever little word weaver you are!

  5. And to think all of those ideas were started by an ad and two words. Now that makes me smile! What a commute you have - train and bus. I don't think I'd be smiling with that to look forward to every day.

  6. It's impossible not to read this and smile. And keep smiling! I think it's such a New England thing that we don't smile at each other. It's a shame, really. Smiling makes me feel so much better.