How are you? Really?

I’m currently a million things and I’ve now got less than two seconds to decipher which one you want. This on top of knowing that I can only tell the truth, and I need to protect your feelings, our relationship, and try and avoid getting the look.

When I worked in an office, I found the steady stream of “how are you?” overwhelming.

(I mean, should I be different than when you saw me yesterday? Or the day before? Are you asking again because I didn’t give you the right answer? I’m lots of things. How much detail do you want? How am I… with you / my work / the weather / my hopes and dreams / the thousand sensory horrors from day zip until this unending interrogation?)

Now I get it: the right answer is “Good thanks, how are you?” but it still seems so weird to ask questions to say hi, and to give answers without thought. We train each other to stick fast to the mask and then wonder why people won’t speak up when they’re not okay.