March 19, 2009

  • Smile. You'll feel better.


    I've heard it for years.  People see me coming, I trigger some sort of urgent prompt within their souls, and no matter that they've never seen me before in their life and know nothing about me, I am casually and sometimes very publicly chided for not correctly performing socially on demand.  "Oh, c'mon, SMILE, it can't be ~that~ bad."
    I have Asperger's.  Smiling doesn't come naturally to me.
    I've been living with a very painful and somewhat debilitating nervous system disorder for 20 years with no relief whatsoever unless I actually go under anesthesia of some kind.
    In the back of my mind I live with the horrible deaths of loved ones and a mother living in a nearly vegetative and unresponsive state in a nursing home.  Most people take their mothers for granted, even at my age.
    I have been professionally trained to smile at customers for PAY, and I'm very good at that and customer service, pushing all my feelings aside.
    So today.  I went through physical therapy that nearly had me in tears.  I parked in a handicapped slot at the grocery store afterward.  I used my shopping cart to help me walk around and picked up only a handful of items.  The chick bagging my groceries apparently took offense at the completely unconscious dour face I may have been making (I was also ducking and not making eye contact, something I have a problem with when my pain levels spike.)  I got The Look and that immortal chide.  "Smile.  You'll feel better.  I'm tellin' ya."  Didn't really get a smile back from her as she said it.  In fact, she was looking at me kinda sideways.
    I felt rotten enough to blow it off and just leave.  No offer to help me out, although I was obviously moving pretty slowly and had difficulty lifting my sack.  Normally I just move along and don't give a rip.  I've heard it so many times, it's simply a waste of human brain tissue to care.  However.
    The Asperger's makes it hard for me to read expressions, but after some reflection, I've decided that wasn't a friendly expression, and didn't show any sign of caring about me as a person.  In fact, oddly, this was probably the first face telling me to smile that wasn't smiling itself.  Could she have possibly taken it personally that I was having a bad day?  Does she have the right to tell me my bad day is offending her in the form of a public chide to smile, as if I'm a bad person if I don't?
    I retailed for 5 years.  I worked a hotel desk for nearly 2 years.  I did years of food service before that.  I have never *once* told someone to smile, even in jest, and have never *expected* a customer to smile at me, much less required it.  I was the one being paid to smile, right?  And you never know who might have just come from a funeral, or has a migraine, or just found out they have cancer, or whatever.  You simply cannot judge by a person's face in only a few seconds that the mere act of smiling will make their day better.  You cannot assume that a person you don't know is simply cranky and needs you to correct their social behavior.
    I called the manager.  I apologized up and down for making such a weird phone call, and for not taking care of it while I was in the store.  I told him my work history, that I understand customer service issues and protocols, and I totally understand that the person bagging my groceries was younger and way more inexperienced than me with life.  But I told him it bothered me all the way home.  I couldn't help it.  I was having a hard day, and a person paid to smile at me was getting after me for not smiling, as if she'd taken offense at *my* behavior.  It was not her place to do that, or to tell me to smile.  If it had been someone on the street, fine.  But not someone who is being PAID to service *me*.  I do not have to perform on demand to a youngster with an attitude about the way a total stranger should approach life.
    It was difficult making the choice to call the manager.  I told him that.  I told him I didn't want to complain about something that seems so trivial.  But I think he understood.  It's NOT trivial if it makes a person feel bad.  Believe me, I would LOVE to just pop smiles out right and left.  I would love to challenge the people who tell me to smile to trade bodies with me for just 5 minutes, and keep up a happy looking smile while they occupy my body.  I think the shock of finding themselves in this body would curl them up on the floor in instant weeping and begging to get out.  Me, I'm used to the pain.  I just plug along.  I hate making a big deal out of feeling bad.  Negative attention is embarrassing.  So, people think I'm dour.  Crabby.  They lump me into being negative, and all I have to do is flip the positive switch, and the world will be a better place.
    I talked to Scott on the phone.  He helps me get through so much stuff.  He told me I should have looked up at her and worked up a really freaky smile like Wednesday when she came out of the Happy Hut in Addams Family Values.  Crack me up.
    Or, maybe I should work up a really ~evil~ smile...
    shining                     malificent
    Or something that looks so mental that it freaks the person out.
    That's what I love so much about Scott.  He totally gets me, accepts me, and forgives me for who I was born to be.

 photo surveybuttonsm.jpg

I've started transferring my survey posts over to Surveypalooza so people coming in from search engines on mobile devices will be able to see the surveys.


Apologies for the missing vids, another upgrade during the server migration swept through like a scan sweeping through the Enterprise. I'll fix those later, kinda busy...

click tracking
since 3-5-14

Site Meter

Subscribe in a reader

Subscribe to Bluejacky by Email

Who is the Existential Aspie?

disclaimer- I am not compensated for linking and sharing. I share what I like when I feel like it.

my stuffs

Still waiting for a tweet widget update.

 photo dotcomlogojb.jpgdotcom

 photo yablo.jpg YabloVH

GrandFortuna's League of 20,000 Planets

 photo spazz.jpgjankita on blogger


View Janika Banks's profile on LinkedIn

 photo tumblr_button.jpg

Follow Me on Pinterest


Pinky Guerrero
LogoThere are
or fewer people named Janika Banks in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

my friends

Eric's blog  photo keepingconscious5.jpg

Dawn's blog  photo dawnsnip3.jpg

Vicki's blog  photo tryingnottowobble.jpg

Anonymous Aspie  photo aspieland.jpg

Fae & Friends  photo faeampfriends2.jpg

myke's place  photo syfydesignslogo.jpg

Nerd Movie  photo nerdmovie.jpg

Front and Center Productions  photo frontandcenterlogo.jpg

Kirill Yarovoy  photo revivalcomingsoon.jpg

Little Lexx forum  photo lexxboredbutton.jpg

Lexxzone on Tumblr  photo lexxzonelogo.jpg

March 2009
« Feb   Apr »

Everything I've got on this blog