I don’t know whether it’s just me or not but in the last few days when people have greeted me with the traditional
“How are you?” I get the sense they actually mean it.
It feels less like a glib phrase now – and that’s a good sign because this Covt-19 thing is the pits and we really do have to look out for one another.
In my younger days when I had to visit elderly relatives I confess I’d try to avoid asking some of them the question
” How are you?”… because they’d tell you.
Every ache,every pain, what every pill was for and a few things about their bowel movements you didn’t really want to know but they’d describe in what seemed like endless detail.
I’ve remembered that … and so when people kindly ask “And How Are You ?” I reply:
“Still vertical and causing trouble thanks!”
And most of them smile.
We all have to deal with the many problems life throws at us and right now it’s tough (and going to get tougher) for a good many of us.
That’s why you can do a lot of good by asking “How are you ?” as genuine inquiry .. and then listening to the answer.
Because listening matters. Even if you can’t fix what ails them .. you can listen.Because, sometimes, just to be able to tell your story to someone can make you feel better.
I wish my old self could have told my young self that.
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.