Monday, January 11, 2010

About Smiles

Here in the out country of SD county I've casually encountered a couple of people whose countenance set me to thinking. One of these guys drives an older Cadillac, and from over hearing conversation, seems to fancy himself a ladies' man and rock star.

He is never without a grin of sorts. I think he's proud of his teeth. We've had a few words and I noticed the smile doesn't match the eyes. It is more a sneer than a smile. It is the sort of smile I do not trust. Not a real smile but a posturing of some kind. He'd slit your throat.

Then there is the Smiling Cowboy down at the bottom of my road. He owns the alpaca, some horses, cows and a pig or two. He's always got a big grin and friendly wave when I pass by. I mentioned him to my guitar playing insurance friend and he volunteered his theory on this man. "If you've ever seen his wife, you'd understand the smile."

It turns out he is a successful lawyer of some kind in San Diego. Apparently he spends large blocks of time breeding horses and doing work on his place out here. And his young, healthy wife seems to work along side him. His smile appears to be the real thing. Just a guy doing what he loves and having a fine time with the company he keeps. Maybe the relief of being away from the lawyer game is key, I don't know. I guess it is possible for a lawyer to be real. Jury is still out on that. Probably 80% of them give the other 20% a bad name.

The other type of suspicious smiler is the perpetual smile talker. People who smile when talking to you about things that don't warrant a smile. Some people smile and tell you things in a way that is either condescending or just things they don't want you to question. They have some compulsion that makes them smile while they talk, no matter what the subject. That's different than those who smile because the idea is stimulating or amusing. Al Gore is a smile talker. It is a defense against dispute, I think, or the reflex of one who has something to hide. I find it hard to trust.

People in small positions of power sometimes smile talk while informing you of some ridiculous hoop you must jump through to get past whatever hurdle, or maybe while escorting you to the strip search room. Usually you find that in the sort of snitwit who manages to inform you of some catch 22 situation. "I'm sorry but you can't get there from here, but you must go here before going there." Smiling as they deliver the bad news.

I like the spontaneous smile that has no deceit or affectation. Honesty revealing itself involuntarily. Now that sort of thing can be magic. It definitely feels good when I catch myself actually smiling. Sometimes I go much too long without that experience. Since I headed west, it has been far more common. I know for sure I've laughed more in the last year and a half than I did in the ten years before my journey out west. That is a understatement.

Anyway, the subject caught my attention as I saw the sneer guy, with his pasted smile,/sneer, checking himself out in the mirror before backing out of a parking lot. That guy gives me a bad vibe.

I also crossed paths with the smiling cowboy who doesn't give me a bad vibe. And that is that. His wife seems to have a cheerful look but not quite the same gregarious countenance. He nabbed a mysterious beauty. I guess cheerfulness pays off. Then again he could be a smile talker of a lawyer. I doubt it. The other people down there working with him seem cheerful too. I can't imagine they are a cult of smile talkers.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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