When I was two years old, my nanny gave me a nickname that actually stuck for quite some time—Miss Serious.
All throughout my life, I felt like I have a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. Though I’m ultimately an eternal optimist, (one of my favorite phrases is, “it’ll all work out”) I have this side of me that can be a little…intense.
Not in a scary way. I don’t yell with rage when I’m waiting on a line for a long time (I just secretly grind my teeth) but when it comes to things in life that I care about—my career and my relationships, I’m always pondering how to be the best I can be. And, sometimes I think about these things on the way to buy milk at A&P, and definitely on the PATH on the way and from work. Clint has on more than one occasion said to me during one of these sessions, “Such a serious face! What are you thinking about?”
This is where the problem lies—sometimes I just make a serious face when I’m thinking about silly things, like cute puppies. Another phrase I heard growing up was, “Smile, Emily! Why don’t you smile?” Now, this phrase really bugged me, because if I am in the middle of a thought, why would I smile without any reason? I suppose that even though I’m an optimist, I’m not always Mary Sunshine, and that’s ok—I’ve made peace with that.
However, I feel that I’m immediately drawn to people with sunny dispositions—people that always have a hint of a smile in the crook of their mouths, even on a day like today when it’s half raining/half sleeting, and then you realize you have a hole in your rain boot on the way to work.
Last Saturday night, on the way home from KC’s German-themed dinner party in Jersey City, I met one of the sunniest people–he could have walked right out of one of those Jimmy Dean breakfast commercials, dressed up as the sun who has a tummy full of goodness. As a conductor of the late trains, normally on the Newark line, this was the first time I’ve seen him on the PATH—but also, I’m not normally on the PATH at 3:30ish am. Naturally, I wasn’t too happy, even after a great night. It was late, and I just wanted to get home.
This conductor had one of those personalities I wish I could bottle up and sip like coffee in the mornings. So genuinely friendly, he struck up a conversation about a common interest—cupcakes, since I held a cupcake carrier in my lap. Seven, made-from-scratch German Chocolate cupcakes are a great conversation starter, if you were ever curious.
I gave this conductor one, and it made his night, and then mine. Not only did he help the time go by, which was greatly appreciated at that time in the morning, but then he also thanked me for the cupcake, into the PA system when I finally reached my destination.
To this conductor, I would like to say that although my night had already been a fun one, unexpected interactions like these was truly the icing on the cake for that evening.