Words, Words, Words


‘Tis the season for greetings. A very happy holiday season to all of you!

But . . . talk to me about this greeting that has me VERY confused 🤔.

When I am on my morning walk, a person who is passing me, usually coming towards me, might, in order of energy: (1) nod, (2) wave, (3) say “hello,” (4) say “morning,” (5) say “good morning.” We, in Central Florida, are a friendly group.

However! Some people insist on adding this question: “How are you?”

Now, if the person I have just encountered is a neighbor, AND if I know that this neighbor really wants to know how I am doing, I have no problem with the question. In fact, we both may stop and talk about how I am doing, how (s)he is doing, and other neighborhood-type questions and responses.

IF, however, the question comes from someone I have never met, I am puzzled and amused.

ESPECIALLY in these following situations:

  • One of our Rotary exchange students (from Belgium) brought this rather odd behavior to my attention after a Rotarian asked her to tell us something that she had learned while being in the U.S. She mentioned this example: She was walking down the grocery aisle and encountered a friendly Central Floridian who said, “Good morning. How are you doing?” The student started to respond, and then realized that the questioner had moved on! Our student was very puzzled and worried that she had done something wrong. NO. We all confirmed that this ‘add-on’ was simply an extra part of the common “Good Morning” greeting (for no particular reason).

After hearing about this confusion, I started to pay more attention to the usual morning greetings that I encountered. Most of them are what I mentioned earlier, but one was . . . SO FUNNY!

  • I am walking in a nearby neighborhood where I might recognize a few folks, but not others, and another lady is walking towards me. I did not know her / had never seen her before, but she says, “Good morning. How are you?” Again, nothing unusual. Before I could even reply with a “Good morning” in response, she continued, “I’m fine.” AND she continued to walk past me, so that, even if I had wanted to respond, I would be talking to her back! 🤣
  • . . . WHAT? She just assumed that I would respond to her “How are you?” question with an “I’m fine. How are you?” response that she went ahead and answered my NON-ASKED question! It took all of my will power to not burst out laughing until I was several steps away.

I thought you would enjoy this description of how greetings can become so “trite” that we do not give them the importance that they deserve.

So, please know that when I tell you Happy Holidays, I really mean it 🥰.

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