One of the most charming things about Paris proved to be their language. I speak none of it. Well, take that back. I went knowing bonjour, bonsoir, merci, and thanks to The Little Mermaid, la poisson. I now know how to ask for the check. But I never tired of listening to it.
We stayed at a hotel with only two English television channels, one dedicated to sex and the other to violence. How do they view us, anyway?!! We spent a great deal of time offering our own subtitles to French TV. We were never accurate, but far more entertaining, if I do say so myself.
Yet, despite all the obvious language barriers, we thrived. We found our way around. We ordered food, a lot of food. We enjoyed Paris. We discovered the universal language of a smile speaks volumes. These lovely people stopped, helped, and smiled back when presented with a smile. Countless people, since we were always lost, who were busy running errands or heading to appointments took time to give us directions and help us on our way. A delightful wait staff proved ever helpful. We’d heard they didn’t like Americans. That was not our experience. What they liked were smiles. Of course, I gave away a lot of Posh as thank yous. They always smiled back.
I wonder what life in the good ole’ USA would be like if people smiled more. Landing in New York, we found subcultures of people who also didn’t speak English. They also were busy running errands and heading to appointments, but we found them far less friendly. The national dialogue polarizing us filters into the mindset of a nation thriving on contention. Like nothing else, a smile brightens a countenance and energizes a relationship. It’s a universal way to engage others and create a happy space between two people. I’m thinking we need more smiles. Definitely. Show a few teeth today, and see if you can get someone to smile back.