Dear friends, family, neighbors, innocent bystanders trying to walk their dogs, drivers waiting at red lights as I cross the street, guy standing on the corner smoking a blunt in broad daylight (you’re awesome) and the general public at large:
I’d just like to take a moment to apologize for my face.
Your encouraging words (“Can I get a smile?”) and concern (“Cheer up! It’ll be okay!”) have not fallen on deaf ears. You saw the malaise posted up on my grill and you reacted the way any Good Samaritan would and for that, I’d like to thank you.
Friend asking me if I’m okay while I’m trying to watch television, I appreciate you. You (mis-)read my nonverbal cues and attempted to comfort me (while I was hypnotized by the haunting narration of Michael C. Hall). Your caring nature humbles me.
Pack of guys standing on the corner who asked me for a smile earlier today – of course you can have a smile. Here you go. Unlike cigarettes, spare change, and MetroCard swipes, smiles are free. Take one. Take ten!
Older gentleman who told me I’m too pretty to be sad, thanks for the kind words. You remind me of my grandpa. While I’m almost certain outward appearance ≠ happiness, I appreciate the sentiment.
Which brings me to my apology: I’m sorry for deceiving you. Your compassion is wasted on me. I really am fine. I have no idea why my default face is that of 1904 Virginia Woolf. When I’m not actively engaged in conversation, I just let my face sort of… droop and do its own thing. Apparently that gives you all the impression that I’m ten seconds away from flinging myself into oncoming traffic. Most of the time, I’m not.
I have no idea what I look like when I’m in the zone, but I’m guessing it’s peaked. Jaundice. Sad sackian. Usually, I’m just thinking things like “’Back II Life’ is such a good song, I like the acapella version but also the studio version, I wonder which one I like more, it’s impossible to choose,” or “Should I go to the bank while I’m over here?” or sometimes I’m actually thinking about nothing, or I’m thinking about black or my breathing or negative space. Sometimes I just stare in one spot until my vision clouds over and I can’t discern shapes or directions or people, until everything looks like Landscape at Collioure. Sometimes I’ll look down, too, because I’ve found money that way before.
On occasion, I’ve been known to smile without anyone imploring that I do so. I’ll think of something I read that made me laugh or about something I found endearing and I’ll smile. Do people walk around smiling the entire time? What the hell kind of internal speech is going on there?
Knock Knock/ Who’s there?/ LOL, just me! Your inner monologue! Were you expecting someone else?/ Hehe, no… I guess not!/ LOL
Of course, I’d rather not appear to be filming a Paxil commercial every time I take a walk, so I’ll work on the default face best I can. Right after I master proper posture and making my bed. So… never.
See you all later, if I can muster up the gumption to face another 24 hours of the bleak monotony that is my life (JK!)