Photo: Smiling in Daultabad, India (Aug 2005)
I hope everyone has had a chance to view the free hugs video. It reminded me of an idea that's been stuck with me for ages and ages. I've always felt that it would be nice if people smiled at each other more. Sure, I can understand that people aren't always happy all of the time and I definitely don't expect people to be faking it with some "I'm happy as Hollywood" bullshit mask on.... But I still think it would be nice to give and receive more smiles. My idea was a website or online community devoted to smiling.
Now I've come to realize that smiling isn't just 'NICE', it's actually subversive in so many ways. If someone calls you a bitch or asshole or some other insult intended to hurt, then smiling is actually a refusal to engage in anger and violence. Then laughing is not giving into the bullcrap. It subverts the intention of pain.
I've always heard "you have to stand up for yourself" or that "one should fight back" or whatever, but really smiling and laughing is far more subversive and effective than engaging in a tit for tat argument. It's more powerful.
I know smiling sounds like a cheesy campaign and I personally have experienced the near-uncontrollable desire to hit people who are just too-fucking-happy... but to clarify, I'm not talking about grinning ear to ear like barbie and ken, but strategic smiling. Instead of giving someone the finger for road raging on you, why not wave, smile and lean out your window to say "have a nice day". Believe me, they will be thrown completely off guard and realize how out of place their anger is.
I seriously believe that there are too many people out there who are simply waiting for an excuse to blow up at someone. You are not the cause, but a simple an excuse for them to get their freak on. Really. The situation is diffused and displaced with smiling, chuckles, laughs and so on. Scrabbling for some smart comeback or simply yelling "fuck you too" or "get a life" is a perpetuation of the rage and dissatisfaction with life... those 'bad vibes'. Why get drawn into the anger of it all? Move on with your life.
Okay, so not all people are ragers. There are other types that could use some smiling at. Like those dissastified, so-called alternative, brooders who mope-strut around Vancouver with their too-cool-for-skool attitudes. I'm not saying this is wrong. I just wish it would be a sometime-attitude and not an everyday-everywhere-everytime- attitude. Those people need some smiling to too.
And while I'm at it. I'm sure there are times when I need to be smiled at...unsettled me and force me to re-evaluate my self, my actions and my beliefs. Okay, so that's the not-so-subtle caveat so you don't think I'm some holier-than-thou fuck head.
I'm trying here.