Thursday, October 14, 2010

Smile games

I can't remember exactly how old I was when I first learned the game; all I remember is that at my all-girls overnight camp we sometimes played it. The goal of that game was to keep a straight face in response to your friend saying, "Baby, I love you, won't you give me a smile?" Of course it's darn difficult to keep a smile from creeping across your visage upon hearing this.

I was riding with two of my American friends in an auto-rickshaw to the train station a month or so ago, when the game suddenly popped through my mind after years of hibernation. I have to admit that my skills at facial muscle control were still weak, while those of my friends were not all that shabby! Needless to say, it was still a fun game.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, and then to today, and I'm still playing smile games, though now I've upped the anti and started to see how strangers respond to my smiles. Of course this is not a game in the same sense as the one I was playing with my friends in the rickshaw; this is a legitimate attempt at connection, and involves risk of rejection.

Sometimes I get super-enthusiastic when a smile gets returned, as was the case earlier today, when I smiled at a middle-aged man whose face was blank. While his smile was perhaps mini-sized, it was there, I tell you! I made a positive exclamation around the group I was with, and my friend Eric said something like, "Wow, I can't believe it still makes you that happy when someone smiles back." Then he tried smiling a couple of random folks, and realized that it's not all the time that smiles are requited. Then we smiled at each other without having to ask.


Mindy Roiff Shanfeld said...

Hope you remember me. I'm Rich and Rob Shanfeld's mom and know your brothers pretty well.
Your blog is great and I assume this will be the best semester ever!
I am traveling to India October 28th-November 13. Mostly in the Rajasthan area. I think your very far from there, but if you could email me direclty, I would really like to a little more information.

Dave said...

Hey Lauren,

How about calling your dad?

Make him smile.