Whistle a Happy Tune

4 Apr 2019

The title comes from a song from The King and I.

The inspiration for the blog comes from some members who have written here about their loneliness, feeling disconnected. Google the song, I think psychologists would approve the sentiments.

"When I fool the people I fear I fool myself as well".

Years ago I used to say hello to a young man who seemed new to the area. He would mutter a reply, staring at the ground, but did not seem unfriendly. One day he wore a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy t-shirt. I pointed, gave the thumbs up, said "Bit before your time", and he smiled.

After weeks of this, I spotted him in the supermarket one day, and waved. As I was leaving, he appeared again, with a big bunch of flowers. He introduced himself, Hari, from Greece (with a thirst for knowledge!) Doing postgrad studies in a branch of maths that made my brain hurt. He said how much he had valued my efforts to be friendly, how he looked forward to seeing me.

After that we would chat, walk along together. He started to appear with others of his own age. One day he was with an American girl, there was some laughter and banter. He spotted me, and I gave him a big wink.

He went back home after a year. He must be in his forties now, maybe a family man. I doubt if he was abnormally reserved. He was a stranger in a foreign land, not sure how to fit in. He found the natives were not too bad, and felt able to respond. Maybe that's how some people feel all the time, like outsiders in their own home town. It must be so hard for them.

When he gave me the flowers he said some very kind things, said I looked cool, a happy person. By this time I had just gone onto Prozac, and did feel better. However during the first months I was at rock bottom. I was way too skinny, hair thinning, scared to meet people I knew, in case the tears came. I must hide my crazy really well, because life meant nothing to me. All he saw was the smile. I felt so pleased that I had made the effort to speak to this nice lad.

We can so easily become immersed in our own thoughts and troubles. We lose sight of the humanity and kindness around us, dismiss the chances to connect. It takes two to tango. We should not make assumptions. Keep an open mind, give other people a chance. If you are shy and reserved that does not have to be a handicap. Many people find those qualities attractive. Hari was a self-confessed geek, but a bit of practice worked wonders. Like the song says "Make believe you're brave, and the trick will take you far".


A Moodscope member.

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