I thought about this the other day riding on the train and then on the tube. I came across several people, who didn’t look as if they were particularly hard done by, but had the corners of their mouths turned permanently downward.
When I don’t have a reason to smile, I might have a look of concentration on my face, maybe a frown or maybe just placid. But even when I am not happy about something, my mouth doesn’t turn downward unless I make an effort. It’s not a naturally expression for my face.
The odd thing is, though, that some people seem to have to make an effort to turn their faces into a sort of neutral state. I don’t think they’re actually aware that they look as if they are indeed permanently miserable.
The worst bit is that their whole being seems to assume this attitude and the misery, if it is really there or not doesn’t actually seem to matter, wafts of them in waves. They become thoroughly unpleasant to even be around for short periods of time and these people look as if it would be close to impossible for them to turn that downward frown into an upward smile.
I usually get the impression that they forgot how to smile and you have to wonder what made it so. We’re not born with the corners of our mouth turned down. Not at all. Considering the concerted effort I need to make to make myself look like that, I cannot imagine what could make a face end up stuck in that look of misery permanently.
Trains, subways, buses, are all very good place to exercise some people watching. Mostly nobody pays much attention to their fellow travelers unless they’re making a nuisance of themselves. People read, listen to music, look out the window or become really introvert and just think about stuff, or maybe not even that.
Most faces then do assume this neutral expression, neither happy nor sad, lips neither turned up nor down.
Few people have a permanent easy smile etched on their lips. Sometimes I am one of them, but only sometimes. I am only worried about those, who sport that face of misery.
When watching people, I usually get stuck on them and cannot help but wonder, what caused this look. And are they aware of it?
I’m being totally random here, of course. It’s just something that struck me recently. Even more so, because people looking like that just never strike me as particularly hard done by. None of them look traumatize or at the edge of a livable life. They usually just look miserable, because they don’t seem to be able to find any joy in life.
Of course, that is unfounded judgement on my part. I have absolutely no ground to stand on to say such a thing. It’s just a feeling I get, because people, who have been through the worst, look different. They know joy despite everything and appreciate it at every turn.
Maybe it’s just me. Let me know, if you actually get what I mean.