Americans are often amazed that Europeans don’t smile.
“Tell me again, really? They don’t ever smile?”
“Not at you,” I reply.
They don’t smile at you because you are a foreigner and you scare them. Because if they give you one little smile, you might give them your entire life story. Come on, you know you would. In English. Without bothering to ask if they understood the language first.
And if Europeans don’t smile on the street, it might also be because it is August, 52 degrees, and raining. They aren’t smiling because they are worried that they might not see the sun again until May. I’ve been there. I live here.
But inside their homes, where they have families and sun lamps, Europeans smile.
Now I’m not saying any of this makes sense, I’m just saying that’s how it is. There are plenty of contradictions in American life too. An American isn’t afraid to reveal their entire life story to a stranger, but they would never bathe topless. Does this make sense either? I don't know. But it makes me smile.