fbpx

Stop smiling!

I’ve been smiling a lot lately. Apparently. I hadn’t noticed myself but comments from those who see me more often than I see myself all point to the fact that it’s true. I like this time of year. The weather is cooperating. Work is interesting. The autumn internationals are in the wings. I start travelling again soon. And my tolerance levels are either at an all-time high or I’m mellowing with age. Nothing seems to faze me. Life is good, so why wouldn’t I smile.

Today, on the last leg of replacing my lost ID, I went to have some photos taken for my replacement driver’s licence. I went to my usual spot – the photo shop at Oktagon. I sat down and focused on the camera. I turned my head this way and that. Looked up. Looked down. Followed directions. But no matter what I did, she wasn’t happy.I couldn’t seem to get it right. I could tell from the sighs. Sighs of exasperation.

When I asked what was wrong, I was told curtly that smiling wasn’t allowed. I didn’t think I was smiling.  I tried to look serious. But again came the order to stop smiling!  I swear, I wasn’t. I concentrated on looking serious. We tried again. And again.

Then she showed me the photo she was happy with and asked if it was good. Jó? Nem jó. I looked like a miserable old biddy, lips pursed, eyes narrowed, and despite years of being cautioned about the lasting imprint a frown will leave, I had creases in my brow. I looked as if I was about to kill someone.

I asked her to take it again. I’d have to live with it for the next however many years. She asked me what it was for. I told her it was for my driver’s licence. She said, as if speaking to an idiot: Visa. Passport. Licence. ID card. No smile.

I pleaded but got nowhere. She wasn’t budging. Visa. Passport. Licence. ID card. No smile. As I don’t have a spare work-day minute in between now and Thursday, my options were so limited that they didn’t exist. I took the photos, paid, and left.

I look like someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. I look like a hired assassin. I look positively dangerous. Perhaps though, that’s not such a bad thing. I’m having visions here of being stopped on the streets of Budapest in one of those random ID checks that are getting more frequent in my district. I’m imagining the rendőr checking my licence. I’m imagining his expression in that split second where he sees my photo and decides it’s best not to ask questions – and I smile. I can’t help it.

 

 

Share:

Never miss a post

Sign up here to get an email whenever I post something new.

More Posts

Zalaszabar, Hungary, again

First-time visitors are easy. For them, everything is new. Repeat visitors are a tad more problematic. Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to see different

Szent György hegy, Hungary

The name Szent György hegy loses its magic in translation. The mundane St George’s hill doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the basalt homeland

Truth from the Cockpit

I miss travelling. I miss planes. And airports. And even RyanAir’s annoying we’re-ahead-of-schedule-but-only-because-we-buffered-the-timetable bugle call. Worse still, it’s taking me longer and longer to conjure

Dining with Pigeons in Southwestern Hungary

Unlike in Irish, the names of Hungarian villages and towns and cities don’t always translate into English. On the odd occasion that they do, they

0 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: