How long does your smile last? (HLD 79)

9 June 2020

As I was walking the dog this morning, in the absolutely beautiful sunny morning that only a Perth winter can throw at you, I found myself contemplating smiling.

And by contemplating, I do of course mean overthinking in the way I do to come up with something to write a bit of diarrhoea about.

I was, of course, routinely smiling at people we walked past.

But the overthinking got me pondering the process.

Firstly, eye contact must be made. A tentative smile should be in place while looking for eye contact.  Once eye contact is established, the smile becomes much broader. If you see a hint of a responding smile, an immediate “Good morning!” is delivered and is most often returned. Obviously if the receiver appears to be in a bit of a hurry, the greeting can be shortened to “Morning!” to expedite the process. And sometimes they are moving so fast you will only receive a smile and a grunt in return. But that’s joggers for you.

I must point out also that caution should be used with the enthusiastic smile at joggers who are bent over gasping for air. I was going to give one such person a greeting this morning but the glare told me to “Back away bitch, I’m trying to breathe here!”.

 My question for today is “How long does your smile last?”

At one stage I thought it was like I was doing a special facial exercise program (yeh yeh – me? Exercise???), with the forming of a tentative smile, immediately segueing into a broad smile, to immediately, as the person passed by, relaxing to my normal features. Sometimes the smile lasted a little while, if the person gave an enthusiastic greeting in return. Sometimes something else caught my attention (sky, river, birds, dogs etc) and the smile lasted, but maybe not as a continued response to the original interaction.

But generally speaking, the smile doesn’t last very long. It doesn’t mean I immediately started frowning, however. My face just returns to its regular slightly wrinkled form. But… it does stand ever ready to smile at the next person. My mouth is possibly ever so slightly tilted at the edges, ready to get a head start on the next tentative smile in the greeting sequence.

I’m reminded of a poem by Spike Milligan about smiling being infectious. In the world today an infectious thing is not always a good thing, but maybe this is the contagion that we need.

Let’s pass the infection along.

Smiling Is Infectious

by Spike Milligan

Smiling is infectious,

you catch it like the flu,

When someone smiled at me today,

I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner

and someone saw my grin.

When he smiled I realized

I’d passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile,

then I realized its worth.

A single smile, just like mine

could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin,

don’t leave it undetected.

Let’s start an epidemic quick,

and get the world infected!

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