I don’t think you really know the effect you have on other people. Take that as a compliment and as a warning. When other people smile at me, it’s as if their inner ball of sunshine dances out of their face and onto my face and kneads a smile there. All of a sudden I’m smiling and hopefully my smile also fulfills this trippy analogy for other people.
Back in good old Switzerland, home of beautiful mountains and overpriced everything, I was walking up the steps of the hostel with my head down so I saw a pair of shoes before the face that owned them and said, “I like your shoes.” Without missing a beat the guy said, “Thanks, I like your accent,” in his Australian voice. AUSTRALIAN. I’m sorry, did someone just tase me? I whipped my head up and probably stared at him for a hot minute before we got into a conversation about his Australian self and how his name was Prim and how he couldn’t swim (someone give me a beat). It was lovely but unfortunately I never saw Prim who couldn’t swim again. BUT he made me come to this realization: I have an accent. Which then made me think that other people perceive us so differently than we perceive ourselves. People come into Nicey (the frozen pop shop where I work) and I notice all these cool things about them and now I’m wondering if they appreciate those things too. Because all this time I’ve been taking this apparent “accent” I have for granted. The other day I complimented this guy on his hair because he had a truly gorgeous mane, and he stammered a bit before replying. Then I told a nice woman how the red shirt she was wearing was definitely her color, to which she appeared surprised. Everyone has a different barometer for appreciation and a different eye for what’s beautiful and special. I guess this is just a really convoluted way of saying that you’re cooler to other people than you think. At least I find you super cool. Now by reading this I sorta made you sign a contract. You thought this was a no-strings-attached kind of reading experience didn’t you? Well I figure this blog is useless if it doesn’t make someone’s day a little lighter so if you find a person particularly intriguing, smile at him or her if you’re someone who doesn’t like to voice genuine compliments and voice genuine compliments if you’re someone who looks creepy when you smile.
I hear over and over again “I wish my parents raised me in England so I could come back here and have an accent UGH WHY UNIVERSE WHY?!?!?” What if you shipped your already-American self over to England instead and be the cool kid with the American accent? Or just go to Australia because apparently American accents are a hot commodity over there. And if you happen to run into a Prim go ahead and teach him how to tread water won’t ya?