Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Beginning of the Week

Last Monday I woke up and spent the rest of the week seeped in a foul mood. Headaches happened what felt like everyday, mornings came too fast after going to bed and no matter how much coffee I drank it was never enough. The weekend was a tad bit better, a weekend spent in a dark room consoling a sad, weeping friend from noon to night, but at least my headache was gone.

Sunday I spent the day at the bookstore reading "self-improvement" books (ok, really I was there to redeem my free coffee coupon) and learned that one of the best ways to get people to like you in 90 seconds or less is to carefully time your smiles. It should never come across as a free smile, one you give to any Joe or Betty, Tim or Trang you meet in the street. It has to come slower, after you've listened to your fellow conversationalist speak for some time, like a gift you grant for a story well told. This lends an air of genuineness and credibility and people will like you all the more for it. This is proven. It has been studied and documented by the author.

Things were looking up. The barista had made me a mean latte with extra thick foam, and I now knew the secret to my future success. Equipped with this knowledge, I felt ready and optimistic for the new week ahead.

When Monday came, I practiced my new timed smiles, but felt like maybe I should have read the rest of the book when I found my interactions with most people on a day-to-day basis are quite limited. When passing someone in the hall who is coming at you with a big "good morning" smile, it's hard to save your smile for a moment when they can really savor and feel its effects because there is simply just not enough time. When I finally broke out my grin, after holding it back and waiting for just the right moment, they had already passed, too late to see my new smile.

Tuesday happened, and it went well. I discovered while out for a walk that I am really good at speed walking and as the light of the day faded, I imagined myself competing in the next Olympics. What would my parents say? At first they would be understandably upset that I had quit my job so suddenly and moved closer to an appropriate training facility to pursue my new sport, but then they would be overcome with pride at just how fast I could walk and would carry pictures of me in action in their wallets.

With my improved smiling skills and with the hope of someday becoming an Olympian, Wednesday started off even better than Tuesday. When asked how I was doing as I filled my morning coffee cup, I answered "good!" and I really meant it.

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