Option A (default): Confident, fixed smile, "Fine, thanks!"
I glance at my friendly-faced inquisitor. Her turn. I ask her,"How are you?"
"Fine too, thanks!" she returns my smile. But is she my kind of fine or her kind of fine? She's answered as briefly as me. Her smile seems steely. I reckon she’s got her own Option B in mind but she’s not saying.
Our kids scamper around us, energy spilling out of them by the bucket load. Laughing, squealing, arguing, zooming off to play. I want some of that. Hang on - that's where it went!
Still, we’re probably both feeling better now than just “Fine, thanks.” We know (no need to say) we each had Options B and we’re not alone. Empathy and mutual understanding works its own magic.
As does simply saying “Fine, thanks.” Funny how you can persuade even yourself, which can be a better thing than admitting Option B, because (sorry) there is no magical chair and Harry Potter is FICTIONAL. Just saying.
In the grand scheme of things my small case of tiredness is of course fine. Some people (or me on a bad day) fear answering Option B because the knot of angst and stress inside them once unleashed might take on a life of its own. Which might be ok and necessary in that therapeutic let-it-all-out way (as long as the friendly face really is friendly and sympathetic). And for others, or anyone at particular times in their lives, Option B will be of the very deepest concern. Unspeakable. For them choosing to answer Option A might be the only option.
After admitting an accidental but liberal application of foot and heel cream onto my face when weary instead of rather gentler facial cream (not a particularly nice smell, but it seemed to work), we asked people to share their own “moments”. Here are a couple to brighten your day and make you feel better than fine:
- “I was telling a friend about my four siblings the other day just to realise that I only have three at the end of the conversation. It was too embarrassing to correct myself and I just hope she'll never meet my family.”
- “I was up feeding Hollie in the night and I fell and grazed my arm. Instead of rubbing Germolene on I rubbed germoloids instead. Bit of a bum moment!”
You couldn’t make them up, could you? May the rest of your day and week be so excellent that when someone asks you, "How are you?" you feel able to answer, "I'm awesome, thanks!" or at least:
PS. Emily-Jane Clark’s article may brighten your day and week even more: http://metro.co.uk/2015/07/11/22-epic-fails-of-a-sleep-deprived-parent-5289448/