Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I found the light in the tunnel at the end.

Every morning I walk past the Plaza Hotel on my way into work. At the entrance stands a congenial older doorman, who always has a smile on his face no matter the weather conditions - I've seen him smile while sidways sleet hit the side of his ruddy red cheeks. He remembers the regulars who pass by and nods his hat towards them, or says good morning, or remarks on the weather. Today I walked past and smiled up at him on the top of the stairs and he said, "Good morning, you look lovely today! I like the purple!" (I'm wearing purple tights.)

I continued walking with a smile on my face. Because that's a great way to start the day: with a compliment, and a smile. On some days I remember this and pass it on. I'll tell a girl on the subway I like her purse or her coat, or whatever it is that I do genuinely like. I've said "great book" in passing to somebody reading a book I like. And these types of small comments always come back with a smile.

Sometimes I can be so grumpy on the train rides in - just this morning I was annoyed by the loud mouth-smacking of a gum-chewer who sidled up next to me while I was trying to read (and concentrate on) Anna Karenina. How rude, I thought. And I probably scowled for most of the ride as the taped voice-over conducter repeatedly announced, "We are stopped because of train traffic, please be patient..." I probably scowled and definitely grumbled about the lousy start to a day.

As soon as I got off that train, and felt the wind on my face and saw the sprinkles of snow cling to my coat and hair, and I looked up at the cheerful doorman, it changed. I walked the block and half to work with a smile, and the positivity of one small moment really can change a day. At least the beginning of one.


  1. isnt it crazy how a little smile can just make your day? i need to remember to pay it forward, esp when an expression is free :)

  2. That's Eddie! J used to bump into him all the time at a nearby pub - he always remembers everyone's name. He even asked about me last time, even though I've never met him. What a guy. (Here's a story about him on NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15017817)

  3. love this. and it really makes you think about how your small actions can affect other people, for good or for bad. hoorah to nice things said!

  4. that's so cool. i wish i could start my mornings with someone like the doorman!

  5. Ang - so free! and so fun :)

    Zan - that's amazing! I had no idea! And that's definitely him!

    Sabrina - smiling is the best way to start a day.

    Lindsay - small things go a long way, sometimes. Especially in the wee hours of the moring.

    Ria - it definitely brightens my day. :)

  6. I totally know what you mean. Like this morning on the commute from my bedroom to my living room, I totally found a quarter on the floor. It was like taking the yellow brick road to work... or something.

  7. Jonah - and then you sit down and troll the comment sections of blogs. What a tough job! ;)

  8. Jonah, perhaps you need another intern:

    one to read jessica's blog for you?

  9. the plaza hotel...like where eloise lives?!

    getting a compliment from a total stranger always makes my day, just because they have no reason to say anything and they do anyway.

  10. I loved this. It reminds me a little bit of the movie 'Pay it Forward.'

    I always try to compliment people when they are wearing something I genuinly like. It is always nice to get compliments from strangers, they often seem more sincere.

  11. my train exit and my office buiding are right next to eachother. 53rd + 5th.

    im sure his job is even more fun in the spring more people to watch.

  12. this is so true! I love this post!


  13. Sean - HAHA

    Sarah - Haha. And yeah, that's what I like best about compliments from strangers, they're not working at anything.

    Liz - Definitely more sincere; Pay it Forward is a Kevin Spacey movie, thus, I give you points for your reference.

    JennyTrauma - Hi! So you take the ACE? I'm sure his job is a LOT more fun when it's warmer :) But also, the central park horses poo probably isn't awesome in the Spring..haha

    Dugout Daisy - thanks!! :)

  14. i do. i work at the harper collins building but for a travel agency. we mostly get gossip girl and random movies on this block so that entertains me.

    central park horse poo and no matter how hard you try not to breathe it still creeps up your nose.