We ask each other all the time. It occurs to me, that though we mean aught but well, we cannot know the weight of them, always. How many times in a given day does someone ask,

“How are you?”

In the service of politesse, of simple conversation, and usually, it is not to be expected; an answer of any great significance. But among the things my mother taught me, was to always be a truth-teller. And sometimes, the answer isn’t as simple as either of us would like. I always find it the tiniest struggle to simply say

“Oh, fine, thanks!”

unless it is strictly so.

I know the proscribed social ritual, I have learned the call and response by wrote. It is a litany we perform countless times, and I wonder at the tracks it leaves behind, in our conciousness, to attempt to use our experience of the world as social lubricant.