Loaded Questions

Posted by Dane Carder on March 22, 2019

“How’s it going?”

“What’s going on?”

I met with two friends today in the span of an hour, and one of these two questions began each conversation. I have never been much for small talk or thoughtless answers. Often, when someone asks me how I am doing, they swiftly don the look of confusion when I check in with myself, pausing, to give them an up to the moment honest answer. I can understand that sometimes a generalized reply would suffice, but I’m not wired for that. I wish to hear thick sincerity from people when I connect with them, and so that is also what I have to offer.

Then, there is the one that’s more weird, when you run into someone you haven’t seen for five years or so, and they ask, “How have you been?” Seriously, what does that really mean? I lay it on in dramatic comedy style… “Well, since the last time we saw each other, I imagine that I have been some of everything.” There is a book/movie titled The Giver, and I’ll spare you the details, but one feature of the fictional culture is their demand for “precision of language.” My family watched this movie in the fall, as the school had them read the book, and now I find it easy to utter “precision of language” to assist and annoy my daughters. There is an essence to this request that nudges toward nuance and helps transcend the (lowest) common denominator syndrome of language.  (I’m quite sure that my girls get worn out/weary of my shenanigans, but, I am banking on them having some gratitude in the future (after therapy) when they reflect on some of my parenting devices.)

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