Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How are you?

I can’t answer that.
Any one-word response I could give you
Would make me die of shame.
Any lengthy answer I could give you,
You don’t really want to hear.

And anyway, you never really ask.

It’s okay. Forget it. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter.

Liar.

A long time ago,
Someone asked me, “Does this hurt you?”
And I said no.
(I could hear the rend.)

Since then,
I wait for the hurt,
So that I can tell you
Just how much it doesn’t.
Come on, I can take it.
And fuck you, anyway.

Liar. Liar.

How am I?
I’m living clenched.
Invisible fists balled.

Not to strike back.
To bear it when it comes.


come into my solitude
welcome to the wheel
come into this wonderland
of wounds that will not heal
walls that do not speak
steps that do not sound
come into my solitude
burn this building down


--Janis Ian, "Breaking Silence"

10 Comments:

Anonymous Hiromi said...

As usual Syl, very very topical post. These days I have to consciously script an answer to "How are you?" My supervisor always greets me with "What's new" and honestly I'm stumped. I'm running out of witty one-liners. As for people who know my situation, I'm trying to think of a response besides a heavy sigh.

9/20/2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger O said...

I know how you feel, sweetheart....

There's something peculiarly awful about those sorts of questions, the ones we aren't really allowed to answer.

Love
O

9/20/2006 9:50 AM  
Blogger Karl Elvis said...

"I'm fine!", Jack Bauer always says, when you ask him how he's doing. Doesn't matter if he's been tortured or if he's just come from killing a dozen men or if his family have all been kidnapped.

"I'm fine!"

I wanna be like Jack. No matter what happens. I'm Fine.


You know what? I like it when people tell the truth when I ask. Pay no attention to that Jack nonsense, if I ask you, fuckin' tell me.

9/20/2006 3:55 PM  
Blogger AlwaysArousedGirl said...

Karl Elvis, you rock.

If someone asks me this and I've had one shitty day, I raise my eyebrow, give them that look (you know, the one where you look right into their very soul) and say, "Do you really want to know?"

If they make a lame joke, that's fine. If they say yes, well then, I tell them.

So Miss Syl, how are you?

9/20/2006 5:04 PM  
Blogger AlwaysArousedGirl said...

John Bridger: How are you?
Charlie Croker: [shrugging] I'm fine.
John Bridger: Fine? You know what "fine" stands for, don't you?
Charlie Croker: Unfortnately, yeah.
John Bridger: Freaked out...
Charlie Croker: Insecure...
John Bridger: Neurotic...
Charlie Croker: And Emotional.
John Bridger: You see those pillars over there?
Charlie Croker: [looks behind him and sees the pillars] What about them?
John Bridger: That's where they used to string up thieves who felt fine.
Charlie Croker: After you.

9/20/2006 5:15 PM  
Blogger Karl Elvis said...

Wait, who do we get to string up between pillars?

(rubs hands together)

Ok, that WILL be FINE. B^)

9/20/2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

How is it that everything--even mopey emotional posts--always eventually come around to being about Karl Elvis' erotic fantasy life?

He's like an evil, concupiscent Red King:

`He's dreaming now,' said Tweedledee: `and what do you think he's dreaming about?'

Alice said `Nobody can guess that.'

`Why, about you!' Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. `And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be?'

`Where I am now, of course,' said Alice.

`Not you!' Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. `You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream!'

`If that there King was to wake,' added Tweedledum, `you'd go out-- bang!--just like a candle!'


Hiromi: I hate that stumped feeling. I hate that for the first time in my life I am always the one with nothing interesting to say about what is going on.

O: Yeah, that's it. The feeling you're not "really" allowed to say. But then, I also don't want to say, because it leaves me vulnerable to ridicule or to be taken advantage of (in my head, anyway).

Karl Elvis: If I ask you, fuckin' tell me

1) If you ask me, I will.
2) That is, as long as you do the same in reverse. I'm not givin' up shit if the other person isn't. I can't be that entirely absent of "hand."


Always Aroused Girl: *Raises Eyebrow* Do you really want to know?

At the moment, I'm pissed off that they put off the new episode of Project Runway until last week. And I'm also tired and may, for the first time in weeks, go to sleep before 2 a.m.

But otherwise: Freaked out...insecure...neurotic...and emotional.

Um, like...in a good way?

Karl Elvis: For that comment, the answer is YOU.

9/20/2006 10:30 PM  
Blogger AlwaysArousedGirl said...

The world is Karl Elvis' erotic playground.

I like it that way.

9/21/2006 10:51 AM  
Blogger Jericho said...

Like so many things in life, "How are you?" "What's up?" "What's new?" ... they have no meaning. They are habits, like the "I love you" said to someone because you're parting company for the day or whatever... the "keep in touch" said to someone who is quitting because they got a better job... I know it sounds cynical, but I do not mean it that way. I know that some people are sincere when they say or ask such things. I also know that many are not. These inanities are like signposts to so many people, just letting them know that "Yes, you are engaging verbally with others." Yeah, right. Whatever.

This guy at work, he always smiles and says "Hi, how are ya? Good, good..." It's funny, because the "good, good" part is actually said immediately after he asks the question. The first time it happened to me, about a week after I started this job, I began to respond. I was going to say something about learning my way around, etc... but his "good, good" beat me to it. Now I don't respond at all. I just smile and nod my head and keep walking. One day, though, I think I will grab him by the shoulders and say, "Buddy, you asked me a question, so stand here and allow me to answer. Damnit! You taught grammar for seven years.... Connect the dots..."

As KElvis and AAG indicated, if I ask, I want to know. In return, I will share, too....

9/21/2006 1:01 PM  
Blogger ArtfulDodger said...

I am ArtfulDodger's complete lack of respect for anyone stupid enough to ask me that question.

However, having just learned about Shortbus, I must say that things are looking up. I am ArtfulDodger's penis and I have approved this message.

9/21/2006 9:50 PM  

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