This morning during an email exchange with my beloved mum, I realised that having a dalmatian for a baby was more than a concern. It was also an unexpected opportunity to learn something valuable.
It wasn’t one of those ‘back in my day, sick kids self medicated with bark and forest berries..what’s this panadol rubbish?” stories, it was more of a compliant acceptance that life, yes it can be downright batshit boring.
Mum, in her 75 years of wisdom, has nurtured 9 kids to excellent health (with exception to my brother Jack, who has some kind of thing where you get a cauliflower instead of a brain, just terrible) and has everything to show for it.
So, instead of giving me a reminder about how good I’ve got it- and I do have it good- she joined me in my lamenting of the world and said ‘Yes, I’ve been feeling a bit depressed lately as well.’
I don’t want to dent my mothers trust, so I won’t expand on how unusual this is for her to admit a degree of melancholia. But I do want to cast a literary spotlight on the importance of finding an alternative- another way to demonstrate that you care to communicate with someone when you think you know everything about them. Questions are so great.
People are pretty surprising, given the benefit of the doubt. As a resistant subscriber to the life of a stay at home mum, I appeal for the status. So, I just wanted to say, even if you think you know, or you think you’ll get the same answer, get involved in that conversation that deconstructs that fateful marriage of ‘Fine thanks,and yourself? ‘ to ‘How are you?’ In fact, divorce them permanently.
I’d like to challenge people to ask someone they encounter to ask a meaningful question that brings them closer to a truth, and to be unprepared for the answer. Next time you ask the question, try stopping yourself first. Phrase it differently. Be creative. Please, mean it.
Whatever you do, don’t act like ‘Fine, thanks’ suffices. Because what if you’re better than fine? And what if you aren’t? Screw ettiquette. That shit went out with loving thy neighbor. For the people we actually like and care for, “Fine thanks,” just shouldn’t cut it. And next time you answer the question, be honest. Or at the least, explain that you have a cauliflower for a brain and that this terrible affliction makes you intensely dumb.
Cha Cha Cha.