No, Really, How Are You?

Creepy doll

Creepy doll

It took me a long while to get used to the grammar of “how you going?”, puzzling over it so that my response always took a tad too long.  Of course, why I would puzzle is not apparent since it really is no different from “how ya doing?”.  And it’s not like I didn’t always understand both to mean, how are you?  Neither requiring a considered answer.  This isn’t always the case for the “how are you?” substitutes.  In the year my honey lived in the States, he always racked his brain to respond to “What’s happening?” with a something authentic and interesting about what he’d been up to.  The required response of “not much, you?” seeming inadequate.  I can see “what’s the story?” or the more hip “what’s the script?” having similar effect, but the one that gets me is the British, “Are you all right?”  I immediately think that I mustn’t be.  That the person asking can see layers of woe that I had buried so deep that I had long since forgotten about them but were now showing on my face.  Or the asker is a doctor and is spotting the first signs of some horrible disease.  My response is always the same, a hesitant, wondering, “yes?”, and then I wait to be corrected.

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