I'd really love to know who the joker was that started the whole, "Hi, how are you?" greeting.
Is this just an American thing? I think it must be.
Why can't we just bow like Japanese people? I'm even up to the Frenchy three kisses on the cheek action.
Because here's the thing. I don't really want to know how you are. And you don't really want to know how I am. Let's just be honest.
We both just want the "I'm fine and you?" response. We want to get on with our day. Admit it.
If you ran into me in Trader Joe's and we were both sweaty and ugly in our gym clothes and you ever so politely and cheerfully greeted me with "Hi, how are you?" and I responded by telling you that I'm hanging on by a very thin thread, you would be uncomfortable. You would feel obligated to take one hand off your shopping cart and stand to face me. And you would be thinking, Oh no. How long is this going to take? I need to get home and change the wash and get the meat in the crockpot.
You don't really want to know that earlier that day I put both babies in their cribs and crawled into the back of my closet and cried until my tears ran dry. That I feel fat and bloated and particularly unattractive lately. That I second guess every business decision I make and obsess over losing blog readers. That I have a blister on my foot that has been bothering me all day.
You don't really want to know. And you aren't alone. Nobody wants to know these things about most of the people we ask. The checker in the grocery store. The teller at the bank. Meh. Unless they look outwardly ill, I don't really want to know.
So I've decided to change. I'm not going to ask how you are if I don't really want to know. I am hoping this makes me a more sincere person. I will smile and say hi. And then I will bite my cheeks through the awkward silence.
If I really do want to know, and there are some people that I do really want to know how they are, I will look you in the eye and ask. I might put my hand on your shoulder. I hope this will garner the truth and not a pert "fine", strained "ha ha" and side step away.
And if I slip up and forget this new resolution, please tell me the truth anyway. Give me the long version. It will help me remember the next time.