I laughed aloud when I heard my father-in-law saying to me one morning, 'Dont talk to that woman,' referring to one of the grandmas' in front of the kindergarten. He admonished me further, 'she's antisocial.'
He dropped us off in kindergarten. Of course, I said good morning to the 'anti-social.' My laughter is because, I have a secret.
That particular grandma was labeled anti-social because she never really smile nor look one in the eye, nor try to say a simple good morning or a hello, nor make a small grunting noise of acknowledgement, not even a blink of an eye. She comes in the kindergarten, picks up her grandchild and then go. Never mingling. I noticed that, though that didnt stop me from sending her smiles and greetings every time I see her.
But I never really thought that she's been known in the small community as anti-social, until my father in law pointed it out to me. I think that the people simply didnt give her a chance. She is anti-social, thus, she remains as such to most people's eyes. She's ignored and people doesnt even acknowledge her presence in most gatherings.
Her frowns and silence didnt deter me though - I already promised myself that everyone would get a smile and greetings from me. I accept, it is disappointing not to get a smile in return. But hey, there's another smile coming my way, I am sure of that.
And my secret? That grandma thawed. We never really talked, but now she's throwing me smiles. Secret smiles. I dont really know when she decided that I do deserve a smile, all I know is that, she's smiling in return. And I think I also saw her wave her hand when I saw her driving away a week ago.
Oh, thawing time took more than a year, but hey, it's worth it.
After all, must I also be labeled anti-social during my early years in Deutschland, never knowing a word of Deutsch and thus, left in silence whenever the crowd overwhelmed me with their strange dribble of words?
Am I anti-social because I was too shy to open my mouth for fear of saying the wrong words? Am I anti-social because I wanted to enjoy my thoughts instead of mingling with the party animals? Am I anti-social because I prefer to read my book while waiting for my kids to finish their after school activities instead of storytelling with the other moms?
There are indeed a lot of reasons why people are labeled anti-social. But the fact is, they are all in our heads, all imagined. Let's kick the word anti-social out of the dictionary by greeting everyone with a smile :-)