For awhile today, I almost found the holiday spirit. It was a little forced, but if that's the only way to get it, it'll have to do.
My thought was that if I deliberately tried to relax while driving to the post office, even put a smile on my face, everything else would fall into place. If I can sing in the car, surely I can smile without attracting too much attention.
And it worked!
I felt like a grinning fool, but at least I wasn't shouting at the idiot in front of me who couldn't find the accelerator with both feet and a— wait, that's not right. I just imagined that the other drivers were someone's saintly grandmother or a kindly kindergarten teacher or my long-lost drugged-out cousin who couldn't escape being the black sheep of the family but is still family for all that and therefore loved and deserving of a little slack.
I was cutting slack right and left, until my eyes bulged out. The smile flickered but refused to die. I was determined.
Then as I was walking from the Food-4-Less parking lot to the post office, I noticed something else. If you walk down the street with a smile on your face, people don't necessarily return your smile. They look the other way, and in the case of one mother walking with her daughter, they pull their children close and almost force them into the gutter.
That incident, I have to admit, wiped the smile off my face, but only for a minute. I muted the smile a bit, trying to look less threatening while keeping the spirit alive. This was going to take more effort than I thought. I didn't want to go back to my usual way of getting through life, avoiding eye contact and acting as if I was in a hurry to get to an important meeting.
So I still have some work to do. The songs and decorations are helping, but obviously the feeling has to come from inside. I'm making progress, although it might take a little fine tuning. I'll keep working on that.