[Alternate title: “You are worth my time. I find you interesting and I want to know more about you.”]
My grade 11 English teacher was from Russia, and I was privileged to hear her stories of her life there, the way the government took away her citizenship, and how she arrived in Canada “stateless.” One of the things she said she found most difficult in terms of adjusting to life in Canada was the “Hey, how are you?” Here, we say it in passing, as we’re zooming by someone, never expecting anything other than “Good, you?” She used to stop and say something like, “well I’m doing alright; I had a lovely evening last night; me and my daughter went to…” only to realize that the person was down the hall and out of ear shot. It’s become little more than an alternative to “hi” (or “sup” if you’re from da ‘hood, as I am :p). Is it a North American habit? Are we too busy on this side of the Atlantic to stop and see how our beloved fellow persons are?
But maybe it’s a generational thing? I work with a number of people who are really… well, old (hee-hee, forgive me ladies!). They’ve got it right. When they ask me how I’m doing, they actually want to know how I’m doing. They want to sit with me for two minutes and get caught up on my life, and then they want to tell me how they’ve been keeping since I last saw them. It’s so precious, and I don’t mean that in a patronizing way. It really is precious, and I think they’ve got the right idea!
I like the term, doing life together. I am practicing this! I am a student of doing life together. Woo hoo!