How Do you Fair?

We ask that question so often, don’t we? How are you?
And then we quickly turn away when anyone dares to answer with more than, “hmmm, I am fine, and you?”

It is a standing joke in a way – we ask a question because, well, we have been told it is the right thing to do, and then we don’t care about the answer, because in so perverse way, that is the right thing to do.

Politeness dictates we ask. Rudeness overcomes convention and we are free of any liability to be interested in the response. Yet no one would dare do away with this, would they? What if you stood in a room and didn’t ask a single person how they are? Would anyone notice? Oddly enough, it is a social experiment everyone is too terrified to try. I am guessing the consequences are so grave the last person who tried it did not live long enough to report back the results

Of course, the wonderful world we live in dictates we should be interested in the answer. We should also be free enough with our feelings to display them to anyone or everyone, whether they as or not. So the proper response to How Are You? should be a long tale of woe beginning with the alarm clock and ending somewhere around the moment the question was posed. A few tears to show you are not an ogre would be appropriate. The questioner must be suitably grave in his or her demeanour, must not attempt to interrupt the speaker with well-meaning platitudes but as soon as the discourse is ended, should be appropriately shocked, horrified or depending on the content, overly ecstatic.

Because that isn’t fake is it?

Is it worse to pretend to care or care to pretend?

Perhaps there is no answer to this question. Doing away with How are you is not the answer but modifying it to mean something is not the answer either. There is nothing complex in the question, it does not require a psychologically draining answer. Sometimes things are just as they are, no one asks the Germans why they eat bretzels with white sausages either. We all know there is nothing wrong with bread. Though the English might care to explain the point of mushy peas with anything. I believe they owe us that much.

Maybe we need to give a little more thought to how we treat each other in general. If you don’t want an answer, then don’t ask the question – but there is ultimately nothing wrong with How are you?, it is the smouldering remains of a society where formality was polite. We know there is nothing wrong with answering with “Fine, thanks, and yourself?” – we don’t want to hear about the carbuncle on your bottom. Unfortunately, we have lost ourselves in so many questions about what is right and wrong and what is appropriate and what isn’t, asking and replying to questions is fraught with danger of every kind. Now you have to ask yourself how can you ask how are you? In fact, if you ask that, which sensibility could you be offending? Yet if you say nothing at all you are guaranteed to be deemed offensive.

We can try to move on through this minefield and discuss until the bovines are back but it doesn’t bring anything, does it? How are you? I am fine, how are you? And then we move on and buy milk or conquer the world.

5 thoughts on “How Do you Fair?

  1. Hey this is a good take on an old customary platitude or typical cliché! Ya know how I do it, or shall I say avoid this quagmire you brought up here; I just this morning was strolling along with my dog vey early before the heat pump got going so my poor old doggie won’t be stressed and as we went along I saw a young woman with her dog walking through a wide open grass field heading toward us. We hadn’t been on a similar schedule so had not seen each other in many weeks and I called out to her saying hi to both her and the dog before my dog would start barking her head off, just her customary built in behavior, mind you she was scheduled to be put down as not adoptable at a year old, when what I think was a divine intervention I showed up; and the kill order was already in which they don’t reverse, but, I got this all to change for the better obviously and she lives!

    So back to this matter of proper decorum, as we got in a fairly close proximity to each other in this open area I just said to her, “you and the dog both look great,” which they did to me, so a 100% honest reaction and statement, to which she smiled and was nodding while saying, “yes thank you everything is good!” Nice huh, well if I saw that she looked shabby or messed up in some way I would have said so right from the get goes, so I’ve done both with people and just say it like it is and if a person is looking a mess I’ll say it as sincerely with concern as possible!

    My dad told me as a young fella its all in the approach when dealing with people son! I never forgot that because my mom was saying the same, to be nice and polite but also “honesty is the best policy she would add!” I’m old fashioned I guess!
    Here is the story of my old girl! Just in case I bored you or anyone you should like the animal story!

    “A God Sent Ray of Hope and Light on Thanksgiving for a Dog and a Man”

    God bless.
    Hey there Eva, you have a nice day and evening!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Social interaction has changed. I live in a notoriously cold country where people you see everyday seem to struggle with anything past a strangled grunt but their upbringing is different with different ideas. The Swiss are still learning to play nicely with others.
      I love the idea of a rescue dog, really rescued. If more people had a heart! Good on you Lawrence! As one who grew up with dogs I know it is a big responsibility, one I wish more people took seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I got that impression over time from what some people have said to me through some of my WP interactions. I think perhaps some places have been influenced by communism too much or some oligarchy regime mentality so people are more turned off or feel suppressed so they just ignore. I see with the latest developments here and the past 20 years how there has been a secretive but now blatant so called progressive or socialist influence that is altering people and how they see one another! What I’m also saying is I see a humanity problem growing and it’s a sickness or very negative thing! I just this morning thought how management or a certain manager in a local grocery market keeps a short leash on each employee not wanting them to talk or interact much with customers, not to be casual which is not the case in another larger grocery store chain where the opposite is true and employees end up talk with me considerably with no flak from anyone.

        But I’m not sure if there is actually some shift in mindset going on with people or not so I still have to watch and see in time; but on the political level it is very disturbing how I do see our own government is not fully and properly engaged in the original democratic republic standard that was taken for granted for many decades and now socialists have become a dominating controlling influence here and only if enough citizens get upset enough of this drastic change and push back will it return to some better semblance of what it was. I always go against the grain or the prevailing change if it is not right, I just be me and try to get others to respond in kind, to open up a little!

        I’m glad that you were so attached to your family pets or dogs too! I love them all and I can’t see how i would be the same man without them they give me such a powerful visceral down to earth connection and also a deep feeling of belonging while the world is going off the rails I always can feel some caring, belonging and being in touch with a basic human sense of humanity by these simple yet very emotional sentient beings who look up to us and care too! Like that priest friend said to me many years back when talking about the loss I felt and was struggling with when my do had died. He said something so simple but I had never thought of it; what is dog spelled backwards and then I know I had been right about God’s will being a part of what this experience of man and dogs is about and why I feel such a strong really spiritual connection to them like Jack London’s Call of The Wild novel awakened in me many years ago!

        Here is another in case i never told you about it. Rescuing dogs is so good a thing to do and giving them a chance with real love too is a beautiful thing. Too many people think like the disposable society mindset and dogs or pets just become another possession or article for their amusement/selfishness and when bored just dump it! One dog I had I found in the middle of the night driving home and he had been dumped in a recreation area by some uncaring person because he was only a year old but liked to scent mark anything he got the notion to mark; I got him out of that by crating him nights when we slept for just a few nights and his pattern of behavior changed nearly overnight and wish to please me was amazing; so he was cured of that!

        Thank you Eva!
        Have a wonderful rest of the day and evening!
        God bless.

        A Special Dog Angel


  2. Normally, if I’m in a crowded room without doing the thing, it’s between 3-5 minutes before somebody comes to me and asks. That’s why I just say ‘good morning, good afternoon or good evening ‘ with no further ado. It works out alright.

    The ones I do care to ask, as you say, all say “fine.” And are surprised when I press with “is that it then?”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Exactly. I usually push for a better answer than “fine”. What I hope for is where people actually go back to saying something but not the carbuncle on the bottom story. Actually talking seems to mystify people nowadays.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s