At some point in time over the weekend, while I was in my 'inert phase', reading newspapers, I came across several articles that made me laugh out loud. I love when that happens. In one particular advice column it was suggested that having a positive attitude and facing the world with a smile on your face will really change not only your own attitude, mood and therefore entire life, but also affect your oncoming viewers in a reciprocal manner.
I decided to try this as an experiment at Ikea.
Ikea on a Sunday is crammed to the hilt with young families, half of whom seem inclined to test out the furniture displays by bouncing on them. After walking up the non-functioning escalator you arrive in the furnished rooms and wend your way around to the bedroom section, where all hell is breaking loose. Children are launching themselves across the aisle from the sofa section onto beds in various room settings, other kids see this and follow suit. Parents are losing not only control, but also their children who are by now following the arrows to quite another section of the store in pursuit of something else to jump on.
When you arrive with your smile on, it is totally unexpected in this bedlam. It sets up such confusion that you can see people thinking you are completely daft. They actually pull their children away and as they are collared there is a great parting of the masses as you waft through to the office department.
I don't know about you, but I always assume that the person I'm browsing with is in ear shot of my conversation. When it happens that they've been diverted, and you carry on (still smiling) in amazement about lap top supports and turn to find it isn't the Professor behind you, but some other unassuming shopper.....they too step back, nodding understanding, in that crazy sort of way.
The only time when my smiling worked was during our shared 20 meatball plate lunch. There is a bird that lives in the dining area of Ikea. This bird even has an official Ikea birdhouse in the open rafters just above a carefully placed cardboard over one of the tables. The bird swoops in and out of the diners and clasps onto the sturdy curtains at once terrifying and amusing patrons. The children all run around...a common theme........and at one point, one woman who for whatever reason was sitting under the bird's nest area, got quite a shock as the sparrow soared right under her nose and landed on the window sill. This was one instance when my smile came in handy and I like to think probably saved Ikea a law suit. When we caught each others eye, and I smiled, she burst into hysterical laughter and we both recounted the event with a lot of gesturing and hand waving. Prior to leaving she discovered the permanent bird house and stopped by our table to have yet another laugh at this extraordinary experience. We both left smiling. The bird....in hysterics!!