Monday, November 03, 2014
How are you?
When I first came to US, and the employees at the local supermarket (Shaw's) checkout asked me, 'Hey! How are you?', I thought they meant it. I was lonely during my first semester in Boston, didn't have many friends and even the practiced greetings at a business transaction made me feel grateful for the chance at human interaction. Hence, I always replied with a smile, said I am fine (no matter how dog-tired) and asked how the other person was.
Then I saw them do it to other customers and felt jealous. I wasn't a special case. They asked it out of habit. Some of the customers did not even respond. However, I had my favorites at the checkout, like Rosie, whose aisle would be the one I preferred to check out from even if it meant waiting in a longer queue. When I didn't see her for some days, I got worried. After a few weeks, she was back and I enquired about her well being. She said that she had been ill. She looked tired and her usual cheerfulness was missing. On my next visit, I bought her some flowers, chocolates and a thank-you card. She was pleasantly surprised and thanked me profusely. The store manager saw what happened and told the others about it. The other employers smiled at me as I walked away. I wondered if she would miss me if one fine day I did not show up anymore.
A few days later, I fell sick and I kept to my room. When I finally recovered, I went out to get some salmon at the same store. The guy at the seafood counter remembered me: 'Haven't seen you in a while, were you away?', he asked.
1. Not everybody who asks you 'How are you' wants to know.
2. If you want to do something impulsive for someone, do it. Show your affection.
3. Someone will always miss you.