Thursday, April 07, 2005

How are you?

So lately I'm frustrated with the wishy-washy question of "How are you?" Most often we ask and answer this as a greeting, very nonchalantly, and I'm guilty as charged. I probably ask without truly caring, and I know that I answer without truly meaning what I say as well.

So I'm trying to think about it more. I'm sure we've all heard stories about those who are VERY guilty of pulling the "How are ya?" thing w/o ever listening for an answer. Many of us could probably attest to this person whom I will refer to as Person A. Here is a true story.

Enter Person A, walking through the hallway.
Enter a Person B, walking the other direction.
Person A: Hey! How are ya?
Person B: (knowing that person A does not really care, he answers) I'm gay, how are you?
Person A: Good! Great! Great! Awesome!

(and, scene.)

Because I'm aware of this story it makes me more conscious at times when I ask and when I am asked, "How are you?" I have a hard time answering, because most people expect a one-word answer. "Good." "Alright." "OK." "Eh." or something like that. Of course you have those who say with proper grammer "Well."

I have no solution to this, because I will probably continue to answer with one word most times, but I will make an effort to answer with the appropriate word instead of just "good" all the time.

Here's another lesson learned in this (Kunjali you'll appreciate this!): if you're ever in German or speaking w/ a German and you're asked "Wie geht's?" (short for "Wie geht es?" which means How's it going? or How goes it?"), do not answer "Ich bin gut," which in translation might sound like "I am good." This tends to give the impression that you're good sexually, so it's an inuendo of sorts. Instead, your answer should be "Es geht mir gut," which means "It is going good/well for me."

And that, my friends, was your Deutsch lesson fur heute (today).

Maybe I'll just start throwing people off by answering in German....
probably not.



Erin said...

Ha, I love that you used that person A scenario. I have heard that story so many times. Kind of sad that it is actually true. I think that is a frustrating thing you are wrestling with and I think that many others (including myself) wrestle with it as well. Hope you are doing well today!

Jackaway said...

luckily for you theres no one i can think of that you would work around that is particularly known for being a real chipper "how ya doin? im not listening!" type of person. or maybe i'm wrong.

i hate the question too, but as you noted, its hard to change things. if you ever come up with a solution (that doesnt involve feigning a lack of english skills, which, incidently, does not always work when the person is bilingual, and you only speak english) let me know, we can break the system together.

Adam said...

I think you should be glad someone say how are you doing than just the head nod. If you don't care though just don't say anything. I do it all the time, of coarse I am not a staff person at LCC!

I just assume don't say anything most people really don't care if you say anything that means they don't have to say anything back.