I was on my way to work, as usual, annoyed by traffic jam and the fact that I was running late. I wasn’t able to get a cab effortlessly and as I waited for an empty one, I began to get more and more frustrated. They say patience is a virtue and I say: I don’t have that. I decided to try my luck on another street corner near a school and as I headed towards that direction, a kid—I’m guessing he was in grade school, no more than 10 years old—was walking so fast that he nearly bumped into me. I quickly turned back at him and gave him a “what the hell was that, watch where you’re going kid” look. The boy stared at me as he kept walking and surprisingly, with smile on his face, lasted about 5 seconds—a smile so genuine that I literally felt the corners of my lips turned up.
Two minutes past that incident, another schoolboy caught my attention. He was doing something with his shoes. I got so fixated on him, eager to figure out what this kid was up to. A few seconds later, he was able to untie his shoelace, removed his shoe and took a coin out. He glanced up at me as if he already knew I was watching him all this time. He smiled and blushed. One word: cute. So I smiled back.
My mood has lightened up a bit. Still waiting for a ride, another kid walked in front of me. He was waving goodbye and grinning. I turned around to see whom he was gesturing at. This time, I almost laughed. I saw a girl frowning at him instead of waving back. I teasingly smiled at her and it was obvious she was forcing herself to keep her facial expression. Checked my wristwatch then I peeked at her again. Nothing changed, still serious. So serious it became funny at one point. Gawd! That little Ms. Grumpy! Whattacranky!
Then it hit me… I was her. I was exactly like her when I was younger, and most of the time until today. Seeing this made me thought of how unhealthy my attitude is. On the bright side, the guilt I suddenly sensed for being a snobbish, moody, bratty girl that I am made me realize how a smile is just a reflex—that it is so simple, natural and spontaneous thing to do, yet immeasurably powerful and moving that it can alter one’s emotions, change a situation and even define a person.
…and sometimes, because it emits and simultaneously creates good vibes, a smile can get a cab, even on a busy hour, on a congested street.