How are you?

11-7-10                2:07am

I shall continue my wee hours pissed off rant with some thoughts about the phrase “How are you?”

I think it should be stricken from the English language, from any language actually. It’s an AWFUL phrase. Who the Hell came up with it? Seriously. 99.9% of the people who ask me that don’t give a fuck how I am. They don’t care about my day, nor are they equipped to handle it if I told them. They want me to say good or fine or great. Some of them don’t even stop walking. Why can’t they just say, “Hey.” And if they do stop, “Hey, Nice to see you.”

It doesn’t make any sense. You’re supposed to ask me how I am and I’m supposed to lie. And I’m supposed to ask you back and be satisfied with your non-answer or lie and then move on with my life. What? WHAT IS THE POINT?! And then people get all flustered when I actually want to know how they are, how they’re feeling. Gosh, that’s so personal. And if I should choose to say something other than one of the few acceptable responses there is shock and awe. WHAT?! You’re not OK?! What ever could be wrong? (subtext – please don’t tell me.) Someone asked me the other night if I was okay. I said no. He said, “Be okay. That’s my motto,” and walked away. I had a meltdown. Don’t worry. I cried where no one could see me. Couldn’t risk not being okay in public. (roll my eyes)

Acceptable replacements: How are you feeling? How’s your day? What’s going on? Anything you actually want the answer to.

I just don’t understand. The How are you? interaction makes me feel separate. Like there was an opportunity for an actual connection but it just didn’t happen. It was “fine.” I’m pretty good at reading past people’s non-answers but they usually aren’t as invested in reading past mine. What’s the point really if it’s nothing that will ever be said? But I would rather walk away at “fine” with someone I know doesn’t care than open myself up to feeling worse from their stupidity.

Everyone asks and nobody cares.

How are you?
Go to Hell.
Alrighty then. I’m fine, thanks.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010