There’s something that I don’t experience a whole lot of in my day-to-day with Charlie and that’s The Pity Stare. I’m not saying I’ve never seen it, but I hear about it a lot more than I actually experience it.
So I got to thinking about why that is–why I don’t get too much of The Pity Stare.
And then it hit me: I don’t give them the chance.
You see, for years I worked in tough schools–schools with kids who had too many problems and not enough resources. I taught kids that my husband found intimidating. I dealt with gang fights and irate parents. One thing I learned pretty quickly was that a smile is a great way to approach any situation. If you approach nervous or scared, you start off on the wrong foot–you send the wrong message.
So at this point, smiling is basically a reflex–if we make eye contact, you’re going to get a big ole toothy grin. And that’s how I handle it when we’re out in the wheelchair–people glance our way and they get the uber-smile, whether they want it or not. I’d say that 99% of the time, people smile right back. Maybe once, a person just sort of looked at me. But that’s it. Mostly, I get smiles in return.
So that’s how I’ve conquered The Pity Stare. Anyone who attempts it will be smiled into oblivion. You’ve been warned.