Thursday, January 3, 2008

You had me at Hello.

What I find profoundly annoying is the way politeness manifests itself nowadays.

Number one on my hate list is the ubiquitous “how are you?” question which seems to have replaced the ‘Hi’ Or “hello”. I’m well aware that the more old fashioned “how- do you do-very fine thank you’ exchange is as old as the hills in the West, but over here until my parents’ time, unless you wanted to really KNOW how a person was feeling on a particular morning you refrained from asking him how he was.

I am a real throwback to an earlier period (not Neanderthal, wiseasses, a little later) and just cannot shake off the habit of responding to a passing “how are you?” with a genuine, well-considered list of the pros and cons in my life so far. “Aah getting along…my back’s troubling me a bit and that fish I ate yesterday was not the best…” and trail off when I see my questioner disappearing round a distant corner.

I have been told by well-wishers I am supposed to say “I’m good.” Regardless of the fact that the fish I ate died of some horrible disease before I got to it. “it doesn’t matter if it’s inaccurate” they patiently explain, “just say ‘I’m good’.”…” No… whether you’ve been very, very naughty also doesn’t change the answer” (a quick roll of the eyes)—“next time just say “I’m good’.

I still don’t get it though…why not just say “hello” then? There is no chance of my saying “my Grand aunt is very serious” if you say “hello” to me, is there? Why trick me into thinking you care only to walk off while I’m showing you my appendicitis scars?

It’s just impolite that’s what it is.

5 comments:

shreyasi said...

And I thought that this was my pet peeve! Every English acquaintance of mine has heard me rant about this ad nauseum.....right after they said 'How are you?' like they cared. They never did it again!

Ushasi said...

Oh no, it's mine! Especially after joining this new organization. Everyone starts with 'How are you' and they say stuff like "cascade this email' or 'thank you, that helps' over and over and over again. feel like hitting them over the head with my pc.

Ushasi said...

Oh no, it's mine! Especially after joining this new organization. Everyone starts with 'How are you' and they say stuff like "cascade this email' or 'thank you, that helps' over and over and over again. feel like hitting them over the head with my pc.

Diya said...

you should hit them! what does 'cascade this email' mean?

Ushasi said...

Apparently it means send it to other people. AKA "Trickle this email." And when they ask you to mail them a one-liner they don't want the "An Irishman walked out of a pub." type. I learnt it the hard way.