It’s getting hotter these days; earlier than expected, frankly. And that’s coming from a native and lover of hot temps.
The sweltering of late summer seems to have jumped forward a month or two. That makes walking, even in the early morning, an endurance challenge. Even without the backpack the other day, the huffing and puffing starts sooner.
Frequently, I’ll cross paths with other dedicated and motivated people on my walks. Those not walking dogs at a leisurely pace all bear the same facial expression, one of concentration and strain.
Into each of these faces I smile and offer a short greeting (we’re moving in opposite directions…short is all we have time for). But for a rare occurrence, almost every person responds with a smile that instantly transforms their focused, but tired expression, lighting it up for the moment of passing.
Now, we know people can fake smiles (just ask the Undisputed Truth) or flash the “polite” smile. Still, as we get older, we get better at determining when the smile is “real”. The ones that I see on my walks are unquestionably the, er, undisputed truth.
Some of this, no doubt, derives from the sincerity with which I smile and greet the people. I genuinely enjoy my walking, regardless of the physical drain (and sometimes, because of that same strain). I’m such a daydreamer and the (relatively) measured pace of walking allows for me to observe and ponder so much I could never give time to as a bike rider.
I also believe those smiles that spring up in response to my own are “soakers”. It’s likely that just the momentary acknowledgement of positive feelings will have a lasting effect on the walkers later on in the day (post-shower and recuperation).
It’s not egotism, for I believe this effect would be the same for anyone taking the time to smile and greet the people they encounter. It’s just my belief that a “real” smile can change a whole day.