what strangers tell me.

6 Jan
Smiling is Elf’s favorite and apparently I don’t do it.  I must walk around with a scowl or frown because on more than one occasion, I’m reminded to smile by strangers.  I can think of three examples from the past couple months.  [And there’s more where they come from.]  
Example the first.  Working the Lutefisk dinner at First Lutheran in Blooming a few months ago.  I guess I wasn’t smiling or looking at all like I was enjoying myself because a fellow worker – who I did not know – came up to me and told me, “It’s okay to smile.” 
Example the second.  Fall Theological Conference.  I meet a pastor for the first time.  We’re in the same dinner group and then at the same hotel room party that follows.  [Hotel room party.  That makes pastors sound cool.]  He honestly tells me that he found me intimidating when we first met.  You know.  I could stand to smile.
Example the third.  I went to St.Paul tonight for a date with my stylist.  [He rejected my hair proposal and I’m not sure I like the fall back plan.  Haircut approval pending.]  I arrived on Grand Ave. early enough to walk down a few blocks to Cafe Latte for dinner.  [$9.58 spent out of my $50 January fun money but their chicken caesar pasta salad is always worth it.]  As I walked down the street, a man passed me in the opposite direction and said, “Smile!” as he walked by.  [It worked.  I did grin.]  And for someone to take the effort to say that to someone they don’t know – to someone whom they don’t know what the reaction will be – is weird.  Is there something about my non-smiling intimidation that oddly makes me approachable?  I’m confused.
I guess I need to pay more attention to my facial features and the emotions they convey.  [This isn’t really news.  I’ve always said, while pointing to my face, “I don’t control this.”]  I guess I need to smile more.  Feel free to remind me.  Apparently I easily forget.  

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