Reason #441 Why I Could Never Live In A City:
I smile too much.
You know how women fall victim to Bitchface syndrome where, if your natural facial expression is neutral or, god forbid, even microscopically "negative" people keep asking you what's wrong or demanding that you smile, as if you owe it to the world to look like you just won the lottery?
Well, I always look like I just won the lottery. With a few exceptions (TV or movie viewing, having my wallet stolen, witnessing people yelling at their kids, feeling wretchedly exhausted etc.) my natural demeanor is Welcoming Party Hostess Who Is About To Hand You A Drink and Pretend She Doesn't Care That You Tracked Dirt Onto the White Carpet.
I can't help it. I catch myself grinning at strangers all the time, especially when I first walk into an establishment. You'd think the people at the gas pump next to the one I'm using were my long-lost childhood best friends the way I beam at them. Lately I've been telling myself to tone it down, but unless I am consciously trying to steel my face into my best robot impression, it never works. It's like the corners of my mouth live in some sort of opposite world where gravity doesn't exist. I will come at you with a smile. I might or might not mean it. The majority of the time I won't. I have moderate to high anxiety 110% of the time in public. I probably want to dig a hole in the ground and leap into it.
But people in cities, they don't smile. At least they don't when they're just going about their daily solitary business, riding the subway, buying a ready-made sandwich, or walking down the street with their earbuds practically scratching their eardrums, at a pace which is at least six to seven times faster than my briskest gait. There's no time to smile. That energy can be used for better things.
Now I'm not trying to say everyone in my suburban limbo smiles all the time either. But it's more acceptable here. When I was travelling through cities recently I noticed that I often stood out, not just because of my race (growing up and living in California I am brainwashed into thinking the whole world is 50% Asian), but because I am smiling all the damn time. And when everyone else isn't, I guess that seems weird. Suspicious maybe. Annoying at times. Questionable at the very least.