Recently I was in an elevator with about 5 other people. Normally, there is nothing going on except dinging between floors and people checking their Facebook.
But this day,all of us elevator riders apparently decided that we needed to assess each other’s state of well being.
Person 1 ‘How are you doing?’
Person 2 ‘I’m doing good, you?’
Person 1 I’m fine thank you.
Person 2 to Person 3, ‘and how are You doing?’
Person 3, ‘I’m fine, you?’
About now, person #6 (me), as it appeared the number I would be, wanted to say ‘come on people. You JUST heard them say that they were fine. Why did you ask them again? Were you concerned that they had suffered some rapid decline in health between floors? And you needed to double check on them?’
But we all do it and I’ve been as guilty as the next.
‘How are you?’ is customary and it’s considered as proper as ‘yes sir, no sir’ and ‘pass the fried chicken please.’
On the other hand, what if we told the truth when someone asked how we are doing?
Recently, around the elevator inquisition time, I was recovering from a head cold and felt horrible, but I was still at work.
I ran into my supervisor in the cafeteria in the morning and he asked the required ‘how are you doing?’ as he passed by me.
Raising my head up from toasting my bagel, I replied
‘Well, since you asked, my head hurts and I’m exhausted from not sleeping due to a dry, hacky cough. But the mucus has stopped flowing from most of the holes in my head and thankfully the fever broke last night.
I’d rather be on the couch with a heating pad, under an afghan and watching a Netflix series with my dog snuggled up next to me while I drink green Nyquil like I don’t care if I ever even wake up again.’
The supervisor stopped dead in his tracks.
I smiled and said, ‘naw, really man…I’m fine just seeing if you were paying attention. But thanks for asking!
Oh, and how are YOU doin?’
One day I actually counted it and around 930 or 10 I had engaged in 34 of these required verbal rituals; each one as redundant and seemingly unnecessary as the last.
Then something happened; I ran into a complete stranger and ask him ‘How are you?’
I received this snarky reply: ‘fine, thank you’.
‘Wait!!…What? Man, you cut me off!You just slammed the door right in my loving and caring face’ was my thoughts.
So, I stood there and wanted to walk up to them and say
‘ yo…where you from bruh? You KNOW that you’re supposed to ask how I am? Right? Rude…
And just in case you need to know, I’m FINE thank you.’
But I didn’t. I just kept on strolling past the tall, skinny and rude alien.
So, tomorrow if someone asks you how you are doing, please just make their day complete and say ‘I’m FINE!..how are you?
Because we all need closure on the whole thing.
Previously, I looked at this happy daily celebration of life’s affirmation quite differently. It was useless and irritating. It was a case of not knowing what I had until it was gone.
Nowadays, I am a lot happier participating when this human greeting ceremony comes my way.
It’s the little things in life that sometime are the best things in life.
That’s the best I can tell about it.