Charkie sent me a text message reminding me (read: harassing me) about posting, and though I made a series of excuses, I’ve finally thought of a post I’ve been meaning to write for a few months now.
Philadelphia has made me markedly aware of a characteristic that I have always had but have never paid much attention to. I am one of those people who subconsciously smiles while I am walking down the street, even in a crowded city like Philly where I don’t know the people around me. Now, my immediate family members are all frowners, so they think my absentminded happiness is nothing short of idiocy at best and a sign of mental illness at worst, lol! I don’t have a great explanation for why I do this; all I can say in my defense is that I’m just really over the moon about life.
As an undergrad at Duke, I never really got called out on it. Every once in a while, I would run into a classmate on the quad who would say, “Your smile always makes me feel better about my day, sweetheart” or “Where have you been? I miss your radiant smile in my life.” But being an exuberantly happy person at Duke was not really out of the ordinary, I guess. Living in DC or New York, I don’t think a single person has ever noticed or made a comment about it. I guess those are both cities where strangers don’t engage each other on the street. But in the City of Brotherly Love, I don’t think there’s been a week where a complete stranger hasn’t made a comment about my smile.
Mostly, it has been passerby on the street. Not always in the leery, cat-calling kind of way, although that has happened. It’s also happened that homeless people have decided misguidedly that they might have a better shot at getting money from me than from the curmudgeon walking by. But sometimes it’s just a person on the street saying, “Excuse me, miss. You have a beautiful smile” as they walk by. On more than one occasion, someone has stopped their trek to wherever to ask me, “What is it that you’re so happy about?!”
I never know how to answer this question, but I love it when someone tells me that my smile makes their day a little bit better. I guess it’s just the idea that something I do completely subconsciously could make someone else happy, even for a split second. It tickles me pink. When I first moved to Philly, I have to say, I wasn’t much of a fan because of the cold and the crime. And I always wondered why so many people were writing love notes to Philly (http://www.phillylovenotes.com). But today, I have a love note for the City of Brotherly Love.
Arkie, University of Pennsylvania
Years in Philly: 1
Current Home: University City/West Philly
Thanks for noticing my smile, Philadelphia! ❤