Saturday, April 26, 2008


Photo by David Holmes

Usually most of us ask someone we know or regularly cross paths with, "How are you doing?" Or something along those lines. Some ask it all the time. Others not so often; but it usually gets said, even by those who deliberately refrain from it - to fill in silence.

Rarely is the question both sincere and the circumstances appropriate. You will know both are present when the answer to the question is not merely: "Good." Or, "Good thanks, how are you?", or, "Good thanks, yourself?" And yet, there are times when the question is asked automatically and it's fine, even the answer "good" sincere.

But those times when the question is blurted by someone as he is passing you by, with the diseased pace of those who go about as though they were deep in the middle trial process of trying to win immunity on Survivor, and keeps going without a flicker of a pause: what is up with this? But worse is when both questioner and answerer conspire in this madness.

"How are you doing?"

And, without a missed beat, like the scenario has been rehearsed a thousand times before, which by the way, it has, the other says, "Good".

But now I have noticed something new in this exchange. Something I can't remember being so prevalent before, if at all. When the person asks, "How are you doing?", the other person doesn't just say, "Good", but, "Good, good."

Like the extra "good" is a sign of the illegitamacy of the answer "good", but the person can't figure out any other words to save face, in the illusion that is mad-paced routine. The double affirmation works against our affirmation. And it doesn't end there, because I have also heard the double affirmative carried to new heights. The person doesn't just say "good" twice, but three, or even four times - but without the commas. Or the spaces.

"How are doing?"


Is this is a true sign of our last dying gasps of unwillingness to be seen by someone as discontented or unhappy? If so, then what will the answers be as things get progressively worse?

"How are you doing?"
"Goodgoodgoodgoodgoodgoodgoodgoodgoodgoogoogoogoooogoogooogogoo...ah screw it, I give up: In answer to your question, I am unhappy, and so by the way are you, or you wouldn't be asking me that arbitrary question, yet I have the sense that my unhappiness is proof that there is a happiness, one called eternity in heaven; and this makes me happy. Yes, that's right; my happiness is totally gratuitous: desperation has no rootstock in it. And it shows up my unhappiness."

1 comment:

Itinérante said...

And so! How are you?