Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Conversation w/ Myself: Smiling Kids

Do you notice that people who are alone hardly ever smile?

From the woman who has a vice-like grip on her smoldering cup of java to the tense-jawed craw of a man sitting on a bus, no one is ever smiling when they are by themselves.

Well, duh. The woman is freezing and needs caffeine and the other guy is riding on a smelly bus likely going to work in the morning. Of course they aren’t smiling!

You can be such a smart-ass! You know what I mean. Whenever you see people walking through the park or on the street or sitting on a bench alone, they are never smiling. Next time you venture out, I want you to see if I’m right.

Will do.

Do you want to know why I think that is?

I figured you’d have a theory.

Although our entire culture has been about mobility, we don’t like to travel alone. Europeans traveled across the sea to be here and then traveled across the country to find opportunity. We learn to drive before we learn how to drink. We despise hospitals because they keep us wired to a bed and won’t even let us walk out under our own power once we're healed. We love doctors and nurses because they are the heroes and mothers that make us mobile again (but that's a totally different story). When we age, life might as well me be over when we can no longer drive.

So true, isn’t it!

Basically, for Americans, being stationary is pretty much like being dead. We have to constantly be on the move. We have to constantly try to improve things in our world. Everything is constantly changing. We learn from our mistakes and improve ourselves.

What does this have to do with being alone?

If we’re always trying to get somewhere, then we’re never there.

Ahhhh, I see where you are going with this.

If we’re going to make our entire lives about the journey and not the destination, then we want to share the journey with someone because we never stop to do anything else.

So true.

However, there is one thing that always make us stop for a moment and smile whether we are alone or in company.

What might that be?

The smile of a child. Children make us stop the journey for a few minutes. In the grocery store, we’ll go out of our way to wave to the child in line in front of us. We always try hard to make a child smile whenever we see one.

We totally do this, don’t we?

Yes, we do, but why? Personally, I think it’s because making a child smile gives a rest stop and refresher on the long journey.

Really? What if the children are the ones that do the evaluation?

What do you mean?

I mean, what if children are the ones that validate your journey. If they give you a smile, then you can keep on truckin’ on. No smile from a child and you’re on the wrong path.

And here I was thinking that I was the outlandish theory freak.

I don’t know the answer, but it would be an interesting twist, wouldn’t it?