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Lakaw is a journey is a step is a move. I love to travel around the world and this is my travel and travel gadget site. Welcome and Enjoy!

0 comments | Monday, December 11, 2006

Thought of the day: Words may not be what they may mean.

I counted the number of "HOW ARE YOUs" I received today. Seven. This doesn't count the other "how are yous" I heard from students at the Union, the pathways, hallways and other possible places where people meet accidentally or intentionally.

I told one friend about this weird feeling I have against the greeting. "How are you" could easily qualify as the most overused word next to "hi" and "hello" in this part of the world.

When someone says "hi" or "hello" to you, you are expected to either smile or wave or answer back with the same word. Example: Maria meets Peter along the hallway. Maria says, "Hi, Peter." Peter answers, "Hi, Maria." That Simple. Conversation ends. Single words that when said need a simple response.
However, when someone says "how are you", since it is an open-ended question, you are expected to answer in a phrase or a sentence. Example: Maria meets Peter along the hallway. Maria says, "How are you, Peter?" Peter replies, "I feel great, Maria." This greeting also invites a cross-examination. Since the person seems to be concerned of you, you might want to show a little interest and throw the concern back and know how the other person feels at the moment by asking something like "What about you?". You anticipate for an answer, sure. So the process is a bit longer when the "how are you" is used. Unless, of course, you don't want to know how the other person feels. You can just quickly answer and run away. But that is being so ill-mannered.

There really isn't bad about the greeting. In fact, I like it very much when someone asks me about how I am. It shows that someone cares for me. These days though, I digested that the greeting is already losing its real sense. That it has become so common, like a cliché, that anyone could just say it to anybody at any time minus the care or concern that the greeting supposedly carries.

Imagine this experience: Someone said "how are you" to me. If you read what I wrote above, the conversation followed that process. Then again, after just a couple of hours, I met the same person in a different place and, for the second time, he asked me "how are you". And "if you read what I wrote above, the conversation followed that process." Funny, if you have to think of it, it could become a cycle of "how are yous" and "I feel greats"...

In reality, it isn't funny at all. There is not just one person who would ask you that in a day. Many of them. And you can just think how much volume of saliva you have wasted for the "how are yous" that are all kind of insincere.

Culture. That's the reason. It is their culture to say that everyday. Just like, we, Asians, use the "hi" and "hello". It is their greeting. I just have to bear with it, I think.

However, I still wish, my friends will just ask me "how are you" once a day. Not two times a day. Not thrice. Just once. That will be more than enough for me.

If they can't control it, well, let me just think of other ways to answer it...to somehow break the cycle.

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