How are you!

On January 3, 2012 by Eden M. Kennedy

Today was a very, very, very busy day at the library. We’d been closed for three days because of the New Year’s holiday, which gave all of our patrons time to read the books they’d borrowed, then scour their own shelves for more reading material, then think about all the books they don’t really need anymore, fill several boxes with them, and bring them down to donate to the library. I lifted, scanned, toted, flipped through, checked in, checked out, and redirected all the books today. All of them. In the world. Anything left over was moldy and I recycled it, but if you go through the bins behind our branch you can have them, spider nests and all. You’re welcome.

The other thing that happened today was people kept asking, “How are you?” On a normal day, maybe three people ask me that, and I say, “Fine. How are you?” But as the day wore on and my mood wore on in an equivalent manner, people kept asking me, “How are you?” like there was something going wrong with my face, and the more they asked the more I wanted to say, “I don’t feel like answering that,” or “Why do you care?” or “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear you,” because I really didn’t want to say, “Fine,” I wanted them to stop asking. But I couldn’t because they were always so nice about it, and filled with holiday cheer. Finally, I just turned my back and started reading a donated Cesar Milan book, because if he could save Banjo the anti-social lab rescue dog from euthanasia, maybe he could save me, too.



19 Responses to “How are you!”

  • How are you is such a thorn in my side. I have a terrible history with that question.

    So that can be my New Year’s Resolution–to train myself to robotically say FINE! How are YOU?! whenever anyone else asks.

    I was thinking I should always say AWFUL! HORRIBLE! Or better “you don’t want to know.” Just to spice things up a bit. But that’s work. And that’s what I hate about ‘how are you?’ All that work.

  • You could just direct them to Daniel Johnston’s website: They’d thank you! Or be horrified. Could go either way, really.

  • I always answer that question honestly. This disconcerts people to no end.

  • Some people actually want the honest answer. And for those who don’t, well it might teach them not to ask.

  • I never answer that question, I will just say “Hello.” Ever since I was a child that question bothered me, seems like people don’t really want to know anyway so I brush it aside and respond to their real intent, which is a greeting.

  • See? As promised, you posted on a weekday, and I lifted my head from the bucket of shit that was my workday today, and though I am sorry to hear you are being assaulted by the How are you?s today (and yes, it’s the stress on the “are” that makes it hurt) just reading your voice made me feel ever so much better. Thank you!

  • When asked “How are you?” my husband’s boss says “Too soon to tell!” Always, every time. I think it’s a pretty good answer.

  • I think I dislike being told to:

    1. “Have a good day!” Bad
    2. “Have a great day!” Worse
    3. “Make it a great day!” Worst!! Makes me want to say something I’ll later regret.

  • When I worked with the public, and struggled with health issues, I finally resorted to a 3X5 index card in my pocket. When someone would ask, I would take it out, eyes glued to it and read (monotone please). “Fine, thanks. And you? Some weather we’ve been having, eh?” They would either break up laughing, or give me ‘that look’, and back away slowly. Either way, OK with me.

  • Whenever anyone asks me how I am I answer “Okay.” If they respond, “Only okay?” I answer, “Better than suicidal!”. Shuts ‘em up fast.

  • OH, this is so true. I also work in a library branch, alone, so I am the only person there to be asked “How are you?” by every single patron. If only I could count how many times I have said “I am very well, thank you.” Sometimes I say “Just FABULOUS, how about you?” and then people look at me very strangely for some reason. Too much enthusiasm??

  • Once I ran into our German landlord and he asked me how I was, if everything was good. I replied, yes, all was well. And with you? He said, and I quote: ‘Bad. Mother is dead.’ Well…okay.

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