I live in a smile-and-wave community.
I just love it. People say hello (it seems to me) a lot. Total strangers smile-and-wave, smile-and-wave. It happens often. Sometimes it can be a little annoying. I don’t know these people. I’m either not very threatening or I look like I need a friend. Maybe I have unconsciously taken on the characteristics of my Labrador retriever and everyone just assumes I’m friendly. Alright, to be honest I start a lot of this stuff – it makes me feel good.
I remember playing a game with my peers once when I was in high school, only they didn’t know we were playing a game.
The optimal time to play this game was when I was walking down the hallway alone and I would encounter a fellow student. I did not play the game with teachers or school administrators. They were generally hard-wired and auto-response driven and were not a reliable indicator of a decisive win.
Also, I wouldn’t play the game in a crowd as it did not work in this bastion of puberty, due to the extremely high levels of hormonal static and the risk of fatal stigma shock. This meant early morning or after school hours. In order to play my game, a student would have to have 1) just come from some mandatory penance or make up exam, 2) a rigid scowl plastered across his or her face, and 3) at least two frown lines ingrained across their forehead. The name of the game was, “I can make you smile.” This is how I played it.
Spotting the unsuspecting player I always made the first move and shifted my path slightly so as to deliberately invade their personal space which for a high school student is about a 5 to 8 foot radius in every possible direction. At a juncture that synchronized their full body scan of me, my full body scan of them, and my pace with their pace, I locked onto my target and our eyes would meet.
At that instant, in that fleeting micro second between eye blinks and not a moment too soon or too late the eyes must smile. Not the mouth so much, but the eyes must emit The Smiley Light!!
This, my friend is ultimate power and something you must experience to believe! This force has been known to disarm every cranky pants in its path! This is what Pinky and the Brain never figured out in their quest to take over the world. This is what the Angry Beavers failed to conceive of. This is what Ren and Stempy used to have before Ren stopped taking his medication.
Anyway, across the board game continuum that were my high school years and even beyond into the early days of career building I played The Smiley Light game until I forgot how and the busy, dawn to dark years had their way with me.
Fortunately, in my neighborhood, everybody plays and sometimes I even get to be the cranky pants.