Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I really don't need an answer...

"How are you?"

Could there even be a more loaded question in our culture? Three simple words that can mean anything from a cold, meaningless greeting, to a caring probe by a worried friend. And that's not even getting into relationships. Any man worth his weight in Valentine's Day cards will know that the answer, "I'm okay" can mean that his girlfriend is pissed off and wants to dump him, or maybe she's upset and she wants him to comfort her. Or, in very rare occasions, it actually means she's okay. But let me repeat, very rare occasions.

I'm a writer who has to work in retail to pay the rent (cliched I know, like an actor working as a waitress) and I'm one of those chirpy sales people who just likes greeting everyone. But seriously, I must have the words "FREE THERAPY" written on my head. Dear customers, if I ask you how you are going, I simply mean it in a greeting type of way. I don't need to know that your husband is cheating, that you're really depressed, that your date with that guy from that dating site went badly, that you want to move to the countryside, that you feel old or that you want to change careers. I don't know you. Honestly.

It keeps happening. In fact, one of them called me up in the shop the next day. My advice? If you have to tell a shop girl all about your hopes, dreams and fears, you may need therapy. Not retail therapy, but actual counselling.

On the bright side, I can now say that my psychology degree is not completely useless.