Three little words.
I don't know why they're so hard for me to say.
Three little words, one syllable each, and yet I can't spit them out.
How are you?
How hard is that?
But I can't do it.
I'm not saying it isn't weird that I can't. It is. Someone calls and says, "Hey, it's Jane. How are you?"
And I should say, "I'm fine. How are you?"
AND I CAN'T.
Is that just about one of the weirdest quirks you've ever heard?
Granted, it's not socially crippling. I think generally it goes unnoticed, although I encounter those occasional awkward moments when someone is expecting me to reciprocate and I don't. But usually not.
It's not like I made a conscious decision. I didn't sit around as and as a matter of conscience declare: I will not say, "How are you?" But I've noticed lately that I don't do it and I've wondered why.
Here's my best guess: I don't like small talk because I'm bad at it and when I ask that question, I really want to know the answer. I'm not just throwing it out there because it's the polite thing to do. So since I feel like I can't ask it back with sincerity when it's a perfunctory, habitual and almost rhetorical "How are you?" in response to someone else asking first, well . . . I just don't ask it.
But that's just a guess.
And let's make it weirder: I say "Bless you" when people sneeze. I say, "You, too" when the checkout ladies tell me to have a nice day. (Or I at least say, "Thank you.")
But I don't say, "How are you?" when people call. Or bump into me out and about.
I'm going to file this under "Life's Great Mysteries" . . .