Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunday Intellectual Question: Good Intentions

One of the biggest topics in theatre school concerned the nature of communication. Often our words say one thing, but our tone, body and situation would convey another. I'm not sure if this is a particular problem of the English language but I suspect that it is not. One of the more humorous situations that occurs on a regular basis is this:

While walking down a street you meet an acquaintance . Without stopping the person waves and says, "Hi! How are you?"
"Good." Is the general response. Now, just a sec. Did we answer in all truth and honesty? Likely not. Did they really want to know? ... well ... In our culture this the "how are you?" question is just a greeting ... most of the time. Imagine how startled the person would be if instead of "Good." you answered ....
"Actually, I have a splitting headache, the kids ripped my pants on the way out the door so now I have to wear my coat around my waist, I'm almost in hypothermic shock, I locked my purse inside the car, and I think I'm going to cry now. How are you?"

Should we ask the question if we do not want the answer? What do you think?

BTW thank you all for your concern. I am getting a little better. The pain is not quite so mind numbing and I have been receiving physiotherapy which seems to be working. Not quite up to scratch though and speaking of scratching ... I have an itch on my left leg ... or is that too much information?:)