We had our annual Winterfest parade here yesterday and it was, as always, lovely and the weather was, too. I've gone to it in years past in short sleeve shirts and when it has been snowing so yesterday's light cloudiness and near fifty degrees with a touch of a breeze was about as good as it was to get, in my opinion. Saw lots of folks I know well enough to nod and mouth 'hello' and leave it at that though that exercise did get me thinking a little bit (not all that much because it hurts).
Count the number of times in the course of your day (in person or on the phone) someone asks 'how are you?' or words to that effect. I think we use turns of phrase like this to fill up the silence between us. No one expects an answer and when you do your count, I think you'll be surprised as to how often throughout the day we reach for this conversational crutch.
Every time I go to a physician's office (and I see enough different doctors to have my very own Blue Cross/Blue Shield customer rep, 1-888-bill-sick), the receptionist asks me how I am. Well, I am in your office to see your boss, the doctor; so why not do the math and answer your own question. Not that I actually say that.
I'm certainly NOT here for the six-month-old magazines strewn across those low tables designed to bang my shins when I don't pay enough attention. And it's certainly not for that gorgeous view of the tops of the cars in the parking lot. And, as lovely as that wall clock from the drug company rep for one of the erectile dysfunction treatments may well be, I already have a watch and I'm not here to check the time. Besides the size of that sweep second hand on your clock makes me feel inadequate.
Perhaps, the person behind the desk feels they should do something for the co-payment. Fair enough. AAfter all, when I get in to see the doctor, I'm not going to get a complimentary tongue depressor and I've yet to be offered a special on a colonoscopy (BOGO 'buy one, get one-half off!'). Leaving me to wonder: how should you respond, "I'm fine" "I'm on death's door" "If I were any better I'd have to be twins to enjoy all the good health"?
As if all the waiting room waltzing wasn't bad enough, after I get to the exam room when he walks through the door, my doctor invariably starts with 'how are you?' as well. But that's why I'm here! For him to tell me how I am. Perhaps I'm actually part of a carney act, where he guesses my weight or how much change I have in my jacket pocket.Thirty-eight cents, by the way, and none of the five coins is a dime. Hmmm......curiouser and curiouser.
Tell you what: I'll check back in with you later on. And you'll know it's me because I'll ask 'how are you?' but I won't be listening to your answer.