How Are You?

Yesterday, I was in line for lunch. It was a good day so far, but I still had much homework to do and plans with friends later, which meant I needed to leave the cafeteria as soon as possible.

My plan was to swipe in, grab food, eat, and be out within 20 minutes.

As I was getting a plate, the student in front of me was scooping her food onto a plate. She did what I normally avoided, she made eye contact with the kitchen staff and actually started up a conversation.

“How are you?” it started, as smile across her face.

“I’m good. What about you?” the woman said.

“Can’t complain.”

And with that, she walked away and the conversation stopped. And, as simple as these exchanges of words were, I couldn’t help but thinking about them as I walked to a table.

How are you?

Such a simple question, its almost too easy to answer. After all, we have a large range of choices to respond with. Good, okay, fine, can’t complain- to name a few.

And, I know, sometimes those answers are lies. Who am I kidding, most of the time, the answer to that question is a lie that just fills up space.

But, thinking about that question and answer pair, I believe its small, surface level conversations like this that start the deeper talks. I’m not saying that the student and cafeteria worker are best friends, but they know each other, at least enough to get passed the simple wave or the shy smile.

The conversations like this start friendships, they start to break down the boundaries that people put up between themselves and everyone else in the world.

So, I ask you: How are you?

This is part of my “I am an observer” blog posts. To find out more of what it means to be an observer, click here. To check out all the blog posts, click here.
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