Saturday, January 09, 2016

A Smile Doesn't Cost Anything

"Today in the cafe... It's busy. Really fucking busy. All is going well but you kind of have to focus on not fucking up. There is food prep and delivery and coffee and delivery and teamwork under duress and shit goes wrong and there are fuckwit customers like zombies with their phones when what is wrong with the real world? Gaze out a window sometimes. Look at the world going on around you. Make eye-contact or heaven forbid, conversation. Do you even remember how wonderful the clouds are since since your phone hijacked your mind? No, don't bother - put your head back into that fucking phone because all the wisdom of the world is in that phone, you dulloid, as I call out your takeaway order again, and again, and again.
And then I get this customer. I have taken their drinks to them, and I ask who has the skinny cap and who has the pot of Earl Grey? And they both stare at me for long seconds, blankly. This happens so often.

So who has the skinny cap?
Second round of blank stare.

Then finally, Oh I am the skinny cap. Thank you.

Later, Earl Grey Granny comes over to pay her bill. There is a silly gaff on my part, and I laugh it off.
"You know - that's the first time I've seen you smile."
"Yes, I get that quite often."
She leans in to share a secret. "It doesn't cost anything, you know," she whispers, like she's shared some great fucking wisdom.

It doesn't cost anything.

Like this pearl of enlightenment is going to help me through the rest of my life. Like she knows why I am not smiling at that moment in my life. Like she has a fucking clue about what is going on in my life. Like the fact that "It doesn't cost anything" means a person hasn't been born with severe facial features and for whom smiling doesn't come naturally. I'm really sorry I have an ugly, frowny head that displeases you so much... but please understand that the frowniness is just a result of me trying to do things to please other people. There is quite a lot going on besides your pot of Earl Grey.

I should have told her that my smiles are to be earned. I'm not a smiling idiot. And nothing in my exchange with you and your idiot cliches has given me reason to smile"

I posted this on Facebook and basically everyone who knows me has been supportive. My friends know I am not as severe as I appear to be. My friends know that I care.

The comment that has affected me most is this one, from my beautiful friend Annye (immediately to my right in the photo, and on her right my beautiful friend Nadia, and on her right my beautiful friend Ann, and in the foreground my friend Danny, us in Arles in Southern France circa 2010... or was it 2012?): 

"Funny, but the one person I shared one, if not THE best ever laugh with was YOU.... talking hedgehogs and tiny little street sweepers!"

I remember this moment so clearly, this laughter we both shared about hedgehogs and tiny street sweepers. Truly one of the best laughs I've had in my life.

So nice to be reminded that you - accused non-smiler -  share a beautiful memory of hysterical silliness with someone, even if it does make you wish they were not so far away.

Miss you, Annye.


fatima khan said...

Wowwwww great post ...enjoyed going through your blog :)

Lee Bemrose said...

Thanks for dropping by :)