The Plastic Facade

Façade: An artificial or deceptive front.

Plastic:Marked by artificiality or superficiality; synthetic

The Artificial or Synthetic Front.

I am very familiar with the plastic front, the plastic smile, I wore it for many years as a worker in the retail sector. I served customers with a smile, greeting them day after day, finding this or that product. Even the most rude customer had to be treated with a friendly demeanor as the motto says “The customer is always right.” Sometimes it was so trying that your face felt like it might crack from the strain of maintaining the façade.

Your face was not the only part of you that was strained. Your psyche …

Psyche: The mind functioning as the center of thought, emotion, and behavior and consciously or unconsciously adjusting or mediating the body’s responses to the social and physical environment.

… suffered as well.

Pent up anger, agitation, ignored when maintaining the plastic front, built up, failing expression. There were times when you felt like reaching out and grabbing the insolent agitator by the collar and shaking them, while demanding an answer to the question “Who the hell do you think you are talking to me like that?!” But you couldn’t, not and keep working there.

Expressing anger is a necessary release of emotion. It is part of the maintenance of a healthy psyche. Expressing it appropriately is an art, an art most people do not possess.

The religious must maintain an exuberant countenance in their efforts to lure prospects for indoctrination. This, I know from experience, is a source of great strain. “Living in the spirit” it is called. Staying focused on the promises of religion while at the same time dealing with the stresses of daily living is extremely difficult. Yet, the façade must be continued, as to lose control would not serve the cause. Anger builds, agitation grows, but it must be closeted, restrained, remain unexpressed.

Where I now work there is such a person. She comes in to work fairly beaming her faith. An eternal smile, a jovial nature, she seems to float down the aisles. Many have expressed the desire to slap that smile off her face, as they realize it is but plastic, forced to support the cause. As the day progresses there are signs that betray the artificial façade. As desperate as she is to maintain the false front it is nevertheless  expressed by small changes in her behavior. For one, do not cross her path as she proceeds down the aisle, for she is like a juggernaut, and will knock you to the floor rather than go around you. I fear someday she will finally explode, expressing pent up anger and agitation in an instant, instead of steadily as we all must.

You can’t be happy all the time. There are ups and downs to every life during a busy day. Anyone who denies this is only attempting to fool themselves. I have to wonder what kind of home life these people must have, for at some time during the day, emotions such as anger must be released. Do they go home and bark at family? Does the spouse pay? Do their pillows suffer repeated beatings at night? Anguish and frustration can tear a person apart. A breaking point will eventually be approached. A high price is paid for maintaining a public façade.

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