April 11 Day 34: A Duchenne Smile

Weekend Edition. This morning I made a foray to Trader Joe’s in my new Corona mask. They were letting about 30 people into the store at a time. I think more of us were waiting outside at socially respectable distances than were actually inside shopping. There we were, venturing out and craving human contact…but everyone seemed to be ignoring each other. 

As for me, I began with a guilty feeling for leaving home and didn’t want to be seen defying the “Stay home-stay healthy” order. But we needed supplies so off I went.

Then by chance, a woman and I exchanged smiles. Did you know that you can tell when someone is smiling even when they are wearing a mask? A genuine smile pushes up into the eyes—they even have a name for it, a Duchenne smile. She and I exchanged pleasantries and I felt more human.

So I released my guilt and for the reminder of my shopping adventure, I purposefully smiled at strangers, thanked the store workers, and chatted up my check out clerk. It felt more like normal albeit at a distance of six feet.

Later, when I walked around the neighborhood, I happened upon a #TacomaRocks and that made me smile even more.  Today was a good day.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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