No lie, this transition sucks. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone other than me that living carefree with plants, animals, children and people who wear white every day is slightly less taxing that the narrow streets of Brussels, with speeding cars, impatient French people and military trucks parked in public squares.

That said, despite me being a grumpy, miserable person myself, I keep getting comments from strangers that I’m smiling (they’re afraid it’s contagious). This shocks me because in reality I feel like I’m walking around under a big grey rain cloud, though I suppose it’s an improvement to the parliamentary vampires who walk between big grey buildings with no direct sunlight (even on rare occasions that the sun is shining). I’ve been annoyed by stupid things – internet doesn’t work, I cut my thumbnail off while chopping carrots, I get lost as soon as I wander 2 blocks from my front door – but even the Irish bartender at O’Reilly’s commented on me being cheerful – poor guy must have lived in Brussels too long.

Thinking about this on my way home on the subway I thought about how much better the city would be if one car on the subway was a party car, with music and dancing, for whoever wanted to walk on. A subway rave! How great would that be?! [Whoever wants to implement this, take the idea please! Everyone would be so much happier – especially if you play Ace of Base during morning rush hour – or any time, for that matter.]

Busy planning my underground subway car party, I became that weirdo you see in public smiling to themselves alone and you look around to make sure no vulnerable people or sharp objects are close by. I caught the eye of another traveler and we had a really fun moment, two strangers looking at each other through the glass, smiling like idiots, waving as we were pulled in opposite directions. Then walking home, there was another sour looking man who almost dropped his guitar when I smiled at him… on double take he crinkled his eyes at me, his lips almost curving upwards. And now I’m home, completely cheered up by all the other closet smilers in this city.

moderntimes1