Daily Prompt – Plead The Fifth

It has been quite some time since I have written a piece as a result of a daily prompt but todays prompt grabbed my attention.

The prompt asks what question we hate to be asked and why?  It’s a great question and there is one question that I dread being asked and its a fairly simple one.  I dread being asked “How are you?”  More specifically I dread being asked that question by people who don’t actually want to know the answer.

My abhorrence for this particular question began back in 2002.  I had just returned to work after a period of sick leave with a major bout of depression.  As was customary in my organisation I met with my boss for a return to work interview.  As you might expect the interview began with the customary question. “How are you?”  Rather than answer with the customary “I’m fine” I decided to tell the truth and thats where it all went wrong.

After I had been talking for about a minute I noticed that my line manager had broken eye contact and was looking everywhere but at me.  He looked at his hands, at his feet, at his watch, out the window, everywhere but at me.  As I continued to talk my line manager became increasingly uncomfortable and tried on a couple of occasions to change the subject and I realised that he wanted to simply tick the boxes on his form and get me out of the office as quickly as possible.  He had not the slightest interest in my or “How I Was.”

As the years have gone on I have come to realise that the majority of people who ask this question don’t actually want to hear the answer, they just want to hear “I’m OK” and move on.  My mischievous side wants to tell the truth when I am asked that question but frankly I would just rather not hear the question at all if you don’t want to know the answer.

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About The Sound of Summer

Hi, I am Alan. I live in Broadstone, Dorset with my wife, Shirley, my son, Ryan and two dogs called Bailey and Jasper. I have recently retired after working in the Armed Forces and in Public Service since 1977 so I now have a bit more time to do the things I love. Music is a huge part of my life and always has been. I have a broad taste in music and can find something to enjoy in most styles of music. I have always been attracted to music which has something to say, is outside the mainstream and is perhaps a bit rebellious. I guess my early influences were late 1970's Punk and new wave bands, especially those who came out of Northern Ireland where I grew up. I loved Stiff Little Fingers, The Undertones, Rudi, Starjets etc but also bands like The Ramones, The Clash, The Jam and so on. I like singer songwriters including Van Morrison, Springsteen, Neil Young & Bob Dylan and in recent years I have become more interested in folk and acoustic music but I also love the sort of high drive energetic Folk/Punk music delivered by bands like The Levellers, Leatherat, Ferocious Dog and many others who frequent the UK Festival scene. I have long since lost the desire to spend my holidays laying around in the sun and these days am much more likely to be found in a muddy field somewhere in the UK during the festival season.

3 thoughts on “Daily Prompt – Plead The Fifth

  1. whitevanw0man

    After 20 years of mental illness, I’ve tried both being honest and being dishonest in response to this question. I now answer the question with a question of my own -“Do you want an honest answer or a polite answer?”. It seems to be a good way of ending that particular discussion and moving on to much safer, more important discussions on the weather, petrol prices, MPs’ expenses etc…
    And the best question I’ve ever been asked by a doctor, to which i was genuinely confused as to how to answer, was “Are you psychotic?”.

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  2. joyroses13

    This is great! I have felt this way a lot too. Its a customary greeting, BUT….you are right, half the people that say it don’t really care. Especially when the ask it as they are walking away, yup I have had that happen.

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