I'm Working On My Fake Smile To Seem Nice To My Mean Neighbors

And like most early onset curmudgeons I consider my inability to BS people one of my better qualities.
Publish date:
April 24, 2013
faking it, smile

There's this theory (which I don't feel like Googling) that in an apartment it's usually the people who live on the first floor (or nearest the mailboxes) who are the friendliest and most well known of neighbors. Because they see everyone at some point, these first floor dwellers are made into mascots. And who doesn't love a fuzzy mascot, right?

Well, when the furballs of your building consistently complain about how much you "stomp" around your "carpet-less" condo and "that thing" that barks "all night" then said mascot becomes less cute and cuddly. All that is to say I don't necessarily love my downstairs neighbors.

And I'm neighborly! I swear. Other people in our building have been known to give us free wine and watch our dog just because we're that awesome. Just the other night my neighbor Tish allowed me the use of her "double snuggie" when it got too cold on our roof. It was as amazing as it sounds.

But those other people under the stairs? They're just not for me.

I mean I get that my boyfriend is 200-hundred-plus pounds and to most people with ears his regular walking might sound like a stampede. We've been debating on which rug to buy for two years. Two years! I'm constantly tip-toeing. So I get the noise thing. But if you ever refer to my mighty love pug, Miles, as a "thing," you and me, we ain't ever gonna be cool, boo. Not. Ever.

Often I've repeated the phrase, "I don't like a lot of people" and that's only partly true. I like most people just fine. But the people I don't like? I really don't like. And I can't hide it. I've never been able to dissociate my distaste for a person's entire being with civility. Rudeness, of course, is not hot in the streets but so often I try for feigned niceties and just look like a nut. When I was a kid my mother used to judge new people by my initial reaction like a thermometer. I was scowly six-year-old, guys.

I've never been one to fix my face. So the other day as one of my neighbor friends and I were having a lovely conversation about the weather, then in butts the neighbor nemesis all fake smiles and hellos, all I could do was this.

What does this face say to you?

Either I'm confused about how to actually smile or I'm purposely doing it wrong so that you know I don't, in fact, want to smile at you. I'm forcing it for show. It's like when my grandmother leaves two pennies for a waitress she thinks is rude (I always sneak back and leave a real tip despite admiring the 88-year-old's devil may care attitude).

After I gave the nemesis neighbor the above smile as he slinked past on his way to the annual I Suck Convention, my friendly neighbor looked at me askance.

"What's your problem, weirdo?"

It's not me, it's him! Or is it me? Probably. But my mouth has a mind of its own, man, and I can't make it cooperate for just anyone.