Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Thursday, January 1, 2015

How Are You?

My trouble is I'm too honest.

There are certain social conventions I am afraid I just do not have any time for, and one of those is when somebody asks how you are, by way of greeting.

"Hi, how are you?"

to which we are supposed to just reply,

"Fine, thanks. You?"

 and then they respond with

"Yeah, I'm fine."

Why is this? Because, apparently, it's polite, and I suppose in a larger sense, because nobody actually cares how others are doing, they are just making conversation. It's like poking someone on Facebook. You're not trying to start a conversation, you are just reminding each other that you are both still alive. What the above conversation looks like, when roughly translated, is this:

"Hello. I recognise you from somewhere and because of this I feel obliged to greet you in some fashion, even though I don't really want to talk to you."

"Same here. I would rather smack myself about the face with a spiny cactus than have a real conversation with you, so I will therefore make small talk in hopes that we can keep this exchange mercifully brief."

"You said it."

But because I have no truck with these shallow social constructs and I like to, ahem, "keep it real", I actually reply by giving them an honest account of how I'm feeling, whether it be good, bad or indifferent. Some people appreciate it and respond likewise. Others are somewhat taken aback and don't know how to react.

Here's a little example. On Tuesday afternoon I started getting stomach cramps and by the evening my stomach felt so bloated and tender that I could not bear to have any form of pressure on it, even going so far as to completely untie the drawstring in the sweatpants I was wearing. I knew I would not be able to work the next day feeling the way I felt, and so I called in sick. Today I returned to work and when customers started to come in to the shop, they all naturally asked, "How are you?" or "How ya doing?" or words to that effect.

So, being plagued by the need to be honest and not just pretend to be something I'm not,  I would tell them a brief, condensed version of what I just told you.

"Well, I'm fine NOW, now that I'm not getting mind-numbing stomach cramps every 15 minutes."

Like I said, some would join in with the 'illness' repartee with gusto, and others would go "Oh. Well. Oh dear."

What's weird about that is not that they don't feel like joining in, it's that the strange conventions of politeness contain this little 'rule' about conversational greetings in the first place. Who was the first person to decide that the best thing to do to avoid lengthy dialogues with people you only marginally know was to subject yourself to the whole

"How are you?" "Fine, how are you?" "Fine thanks."


Keep it real, peeps, and have a happy 2015. May you not get ill.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, this explains why a customer in my shop was confused to see Boss,under the impression that HE was off sick from your shop !


Complaints, comments, questions, concerns, missing or broken links, etc?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...