Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Searching For A Smile In The Crowd

I admit that it is not often that I start my day with a trip to the gym. But I did this morning. Out the door by 7AM and waiting for the elevator. I wasn't expecting company when the doors opened. I smiled and waited. No one moved. No one smiled back. In fact the man reading his paper did not even look up.

I felt the shock I get when I step for a few moments into that world I once inhabited. The one that has you racing from the minute the alarm goes off. People in suits, looking down, not up, immersed in newsprint or mobile devices. Strangers crowded into elevators ignoring each other and not smiling.

The streets were already pretty full of more of the same. Everyone with the same flat expression on their face. Most multi tasking, no one smiling. And trust me I tried to get a few too.

But what I noticed more than the lack of lips curving upward, was the look of unhappiness that seemed prevalent. Yes, it was cold and blustery out. Yes there was fresh ice on the ground to navigate. But no one look enthused. No one looked happy to get where they were going. No one exuded any joy. And believe me I was looking for it, that one pair of eyes that might have the slightest glimmer of a twinkle.

The gym wasn't much different. I wondered if it was the morning? Is that the real test for how happy you are to be working whatever your job is? Is it morning where you can't pretend ? The effort to get up and out of bed enough energy spent already that there is no more to mask? Or are there just that many people unhappy? And if that is true, why aren't more doing anything about it?

I know the list of things that hold them back. This morning I was quite happy to have shredded mine. I was excited to get back home, ready to sit at my desk and get some work done. As the Universe would deem it, once in the doors to my lobby I found a smile. From my doorman.

1 comment:

Mary said...

I'm sorry you had that experience. I have to say, my world is still filled with smiles. I smile and people smile back. Keep at it!