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08 May 2008 @ 11:37 pm
Smiling at Strangers  

Revision, I have decided, is never-ending not only because it's as boring as boring can be and I procrastinate so much that I never actually reach the end of it, but because it's like filling a sieve.  I pour stuff in there and it leaks out within hours, minutes even, so I decided to take a walk today, attempting to plug some of my brain-holes with sunshine and trees and nature things.

Now, I have this thing where if I'm walking down a street and someone comes walking towards me and our eyes meet I smile at them, because it's better than that awkward moment where you hurriedly look away and pretend not to see each other.  Also, because hardly anyone ever smiles back and it's like waiting for there to finally be a case of lupus on House, M.D. (the TV show) or the college canteen to give us nice food - when it finally happens excitement ensues.

Today this old chap was walking towards me, so I moved out of his way so he could walk by, only he moved the same way.  We smiled sheepishly at each other...and moved the same way again.  By the time we finally walked past each other we were both laughing.  

I had never met him before in my whole life and I never will again, or if I do I won't recognise him, but that guy is my new best friend.

When I bury myself in revision there are days when I just don't speak to people, which is kind of scary.  This year I'm living in college, so I see people every mealtime.  Last year I lived out with four other girls and it was a very silent house during revision time.  I went for a walk then and met a lovely little old lady at the market and we talked about strawberries.  Strawberries.  For less than a minute.

It made my day.

I tried to tell one of my housemates this when I we were cooking dinner and she gave me a look I was rather familiar with by then, which said 'you're okay to live with, but please stop talking now'.  We all got along last year with no real arguments and a few good laughs, but we didn't really get each other.  We haven't really kept in touch even though two of them are living in college with me this year.  Talking to a random woman about strawberries was not, it was implied, something to get excited about.

But the Strawberry Lady and Laughing Man were big deals for me.

If anyone has ever seen the film Under The Tuscan Sun, there's an old chap in that who the heroine sees everyday when he walks by and she always smiles at him, but he never acknowledges her, or he frowns.  Then, finally, at the end of the film, he tips his hat to her and she looks so happy, as if she could jump up and down with the joy of it.  All because some old guy smiled.

This is how it is: we all kind of ignore each other.  How many people talk on a bus when there's no one there that they recognise?  How many people strike up a random conversation with the person behind them in the queue at the supermarket?  Or people on train station platforms?  

And how surprised do they look if you do?

It's a little depressing and a little uncomfortable ignoring people, so I smile at people I don't know.  Sometimes they smile back.

I would like to share with you that I went for a walk and an old chap laughed with me.  It made my day.
feeling: happyhappy
Me: Rupert | Smilehpuckle on May 9th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
I definitely know what you mean about smiling instead of the awkwardness... I always smile at people if we accidently make eye-contact 'cause the alternative makes me cringe!

inkvoices: hp:hermione_smileinkvoices on May 9th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
Yep! And when you shuffle one way to move out of the road, only they go the same way, so you move, so they move, so you move...sheepish smiles at the least are the only way to go. *grins*
Elveejaneowbeth on May 12th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
I always remember those types of meetings also, because nothing beats that warm-fuzzy feeling inside when some snarling stranger-type beast acknowledges you in a way that doesn't seem to read I am going to eat you. People should be interactive with others by nature, but it's harder than it seems.

This made me smile:]
And HI, I'm Elvee!
inkvoices: hp:hermione adultlookuphappyinkvoices on May 12th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
I now have a mental image of a growling old chap in a tweed jacket stalking the streets looking for innocent passers-by to eat. *grins* But yes, it is a great feeling. :o)

Ahh, and you're the recent-friended person. Nice to meet you, to meet you nice!
Elveejaneowbeth on May 12th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
Why yes I am :].

And I'd imagine he'd look somewhat like the Beast in Sleeping Beauty as well, because what fun would it be if he wasn't covered head to toe in tufts of menacing fur?
inkvoices: hp:puff_bunnytheoryinkvoices on May 13th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Are you a writing type person? Because, if you are, I dare you to write that story/poem, or draw it, if you're an arty type person.

Lots of people on my f-list are writerly or arty people and I love spreading the plot bunnies. :o)