Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Episode 10: I'd Like to Teach the World to Smile

Well, not the world.  Just Poland.

And really, not the teenagers and early twenty-somethings because they smile at the boys and I all the time. 

I'm talking abut other moms.  Potential friends.  The Knowing Smile of Mom Camaraderie does not exist here, but I'd like to teach my new potential mates (British slang, I know, but at least it's Euro.) how to win friends and influence people without saying a word.
 I'm the yellow one.

Smile 1:  On The Sidewalk
Despite what you may be used to, it's okay to smile at strangers you pass on the sidewalk!  Your smile may convey the following messages:

"Hi!  We live in the same neighborhood.  It's nice to see you."
"Wow!  Isn't it pretty outside today?  We live in a beautiful place!"
"Awwww, look at your sweet boys.  You must really have fun with them on walks."

Here's what I believe your non-smiling, non-eye-contact actions convey:
"Get off my sidewalk."
"Your children are polluting my air."
"Poland is not for you.  Leave."

Smile 2:  Whilst Shopping
One thing I do a lot of is shop.  Groceries, toys (all the damn time it seems, but why?), random crap.  I see you at all of the places I spend my time and money, and you look right through me.  It stings a bit.  A smile in these times would mean a lot.  Especially when my kids are acting a little 'spirited'.  Here's what a smile might say to me in these situations:

"I have kids too.  I feel your pain."
"This would be so much easier without kids tagging along, right?"
"You should totally buy that scarf!  It's so cute!"

Your current non-looks or outright scowls say:
"Get out of my store.  You may shop when I leave."
"We don't have loud kids in Poland.  You must be foreign."

Smile 3:  Meeting The Neighbors
When Michael and I returned from our vacation, my parents informed me that a family had moved into the other apartment on our floor.  Hooray!  Further, we learned they have a son who is about 8 or 9 and a new baby!  Who loves babies she doesn't have to wake up for?  Me!!!   So far, the son has smiled and said hello in return to my awesome greetings in Polish.  The dad said hello once.  And the mom?  Utter contempt oozed from her eyes the first time I saw her.  We were literally 2 feet from each other in our shared garage, and I had the boys with me.  She was carrying the new baby.  I smiled that loving babies smile.  The boys were quiet and kept their germs away.  Nothin'.  I'm hoping the family was just having a bad day and did not have time to chit-chat with me.  But what I really think is--they hate me and my kids.  Or possibly my dad offended them while I was gone.  Who knows?  But, in case they ever do want to meet us, a smile says:

"Nice to meet you."
"It's good to have another family living so close."
"You aren't so bad."

So, my future Polish friends, that's the quick and easy way to meet me!  Your smile in return to mine, and then I do the rest.  If the situation calls for it, I'll talk to you.  If not, I'll at least feel like you don't hate my very existence.  Thanks in advance!


FluteItUp said...

Hahaha, you need to come to Idaho. People are OVERLY friendly. They don't just smile, they start up conversations in the line at the grocery store and leave with each other's number and plans for dinner next week!


Rosstwinmom said...

Cassie, That sounds like my mom's idea of heaven. Do they enjoy looking at random pictures of strangers' grandkids? I bet they do!

Carla said...

Ah, don't give those Poles such a hard time. They are the brunt of most jokes, don't have Target or Mac & Cheese and don't have 32 consecutive days of over 100 degree weather--life's not so happy. I say you whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, or the Polish equivalent there of, walk down the hall and present them to your evil neighbor, maybe with your nanny to help with the translation? And don't leave till she cracks a smile. Kill her with kindness.

Anonymous said...

Hey chick I feel your pain. My next door neighbor has kids the same age my kids. Our older kids play together almost every day mostly in my house or in our yard. The women is a house wife just like me. You would think she would be happy if our toddler sons played together while we could have a cup of coffee. I can't count how many times I was inviting her over for play time, not ones she accepted my invitation. Very weird!!!!
We moved to our new house in Poland last April. I'm polish-american and lived most of my life in New York.