How are you?
We hear this question (or words to this effect) everyday, at home, work, market place; wherever we go someone always throws that question; how are you?
And the usual reply is: Fine!
Even when we are down with cerebral malaria and typhoid and hepatitis and conjunctivitis; we always say fine.
My question, now, is why?
Why say fine?
Why give a response that is so far from the truth, it might as well be a different language?
And I already know the answer: most people don’t actually care to know how you are doing. It’s just lip service.
Imagine, for a moment, that a stranger (or an acquaintance, someone you barely talk to) stops you on the road and really wants to know how you are doing. Would you:
a) feel loved and tell him how you feel
b) politely dismiss his attention
c) drop a few choice words to put the intrusive bastard in his place.
What if he stops you and says to you:
I doubt you will appreciate it, no?
What kind of creatures are we humans, anyway?
Why do we insist on holding onto niceties and platitudes when we place no value in them?
I mean, a simple good morning would suffice, no? Why add extra words that we do not mean?
It’s a useless question to the modern human and I feel it should be made obsolete!
I’m taking it too personally?
Then ask yourself, when was the last time you asked someone (outside family and friends) how they were doing and actually cared to know the answer?
Take your time… I can wait.
More, when was the last time someone, you weren’t really close to, asked you that question and you actually told how you felt?
Been a while, no?
Oh! It has never happened to some of you?
You see am na!
We can either choose to discard the useless platitudes or learn to care for our neighbors.
One of my friends told me the other day:
Being raised right doesn’t mean you do not smoke or drink or have fun.
It’s about how you treat the people around you and how you respect them.
(I will not call her name lest her head swell to bursting)
In the same manner, asking about the well being of another doesn’t mean you care or don’t care about the person, it means that you acknowledge the person’s right to exist. As such, you should take out a few minutes of your time to listen to what the person has to say.
How hard can that be?
Knowing some woe-is-me-is-woe type folks, a simple matter of an aching tooth can become as complex as cancer if you give them the chance. They don’t seem to understand that the world doesn’t begin and end with their troubles.
Some wise dude once said:
All things in moderation
(Don’t ask me his name, I can’t be bothered to check at the moment. You look it up!)
If you must ask, then spare a few fucks to listen to the response; and when you are asked, be sensible enough to be as concise as possible. The fewer words the better.
Let me put it this way…
Get out of your way and give a shit about the person next to you.
We are the good we seek around us; by the same coin, we are the evil we bemoan around us
Ink don finish for my quill.
(If you don’t understand pidgin English, Google is your friend)
P.s: is it me or did it feel like I was forcing logic at some point? Meh! Who cares.