Monday, 13 April 2009

The Lowdown

I am, admittedly, not terribly adept at the art of making conversation. I tend to answer rhetorical questions, ask for clarification on things that are apparently intuitive, correct people's grammar, make odd and almost unrelated observations that only I think are interesting, and so on. Let's not forget the killer: I ask "how did you manage to do that?" rather than "how do you feel about that?"

And so that is why I come to all of you today with this question. How am I supposed to reply when someone asks me, by way of greeting, "What's up"? This seems to be a growing fad, and I am unsure of how to deal with it.

Oh, yeah - another pet faux pas of mine is giving people a touch more information than they actually want. So when someone waves and shouts "What's up?", my tendency is to stand blinking momentarily before rattling off a finals-are-about-to-start-the-weather's-nice-and-my-presentation-on-genetics-rocked-but-I'm-kinda-annoyed-with-people-who-blare-music-through-their-ipod-headphones-waaaay-too-loudly.

But then I wonder if the typical answer to "How are you" (ie. the polite "fine") is a better choice. Currently, I'm leaning towards just ignoring the question/greeting and replying "Hi! How are you?" Yet if I asked someone what was up, and they continually ignored the question, I would started to get a little ticked. Whatever happened to sincerity?

Sighhh.... if only everyone thought like me. Actually, scratch that. That would just be scary.

“I can speak French but I cannot understand it.” Mark Twain


CavDawg said...

I have a lot of friends who get all self-righteous about "It's stupid that Americans ask `How are you?' but they don't mean it!"

Poppycock. "How are you?" (or, "What's up?") is not a query, it's a greeting. If someone wants to actually know how you're doing, they'll ask twice.

"How are you?"
"I'm fine, thanks, you?"
"Oh, doing great. So how are things going?"
"Not so good, I'm being chased by ninjas."

It's not really all that complicated.

Bri said...

I hear ya! Generally, if people say "what's up" while walking by me or if they don't actually make eye contact, I just say "hey" or smile. But if they stop and look interested in your response, generally a "not much, you?" is a good response. However, I'm like you and go on rants instead but people often find those amusing.

Kirk said...

Oh, "what's up" is an easy question to answer: The sky.
What else? The ceiling
Well then, what's down? the floor.

Actually heard someone use this.

art said...

What's up? Relative to what? Geographically, the North Pole is always up. But what about those who are already at the North Pole? I guess they would have to respond "not much". I suppose they could still respond the sky is up but technically, there is more sky under them then above them so that would be a confusing answer. The sun (in summer) is more beside them than over them. There are a lot of stars overhead but are there more stars under them? I think our planet is situated towards the top of the Milky Way so I would think not. I suppose I could check what the orientation of our galaxy is with respect to the center of the universe.

Perhaps an appropriate response to that question is just a simple: "yeah Dude".

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...perhaps in this area you shouldn't imitate your father...:)

Carla said...

I said "What's up?" in reply to a "What's up?" today. It seems to work.