Monday, 13 June 2011

The Ubiquitous "Good"

“Hi, how are you?”

“Good. How are you?”

Does this sound familiar to you? Is this something you hear almost every day with slight variation? Whether you have a job that forces you to ask the question or you go into a shop and are asked this question – even online - either way you hear this little exchange A LOT.

How many people are actually “good” when they respond this way? I know I’m usually not but if I spent the time explaining the different components of my emotional and physical state in that moment I would probably get stared at – pity stared.
When I was studying in England I had to get use to the shopkeepers asking “you alright?” when you entered a store. At the beginning I would simply reply “yes” or “yes, I’m fine” and then on came the stares. Apparently, in Britain, you don’t need to reply to that. It isn’t so much a question but rather a statement acknowledging your presence. It worked wonders when I realised a slight smile or nod would satisfy them and I tried to bring this knowledge back to my home land.

It didn’t work.
Most of the time people thought I was either mute, incapable of speaking English or just a total non-communicative cow.

It is more than likely this response is just a failsafe question and answer so we can continue with what actually needs to get done. I mean I’m sure that neither one us really cares how the other is feeling. We just need a short, polite yet pointless opener to appropriately get what we want from one another without arousing suspicion of others – albeit our bosses or other judgemental onlookers.
As a kid I would always get asked “how was school?” and I would, without fail, respond with “good”. Not that I didn’t have a good day – I’m sure if it was lousy and filled with hate due to some other kid laughing at my kneecaps then I would want to share but if it had been an average day where not much happened I would just say the word that frees us from further explanation and boring small talk.  

Actually this word is kind of freeing. I don’t have to reveal myself to strangers on a regular basis. They might take the hint if I say I’m good and have big puffy, red eyes from crying or blood shooting from my temple and not ask any more questions. In fact, I feel positive about the mundane and mediocre nature of the word “good”. And right now, after typing this blog, I feel good.

No comments:

Post a Comment