Dealing with cancer I find it a challenge every time someone asks me: ‘How are you?’ (Especially when they come sad-eyed and full of genuine concern). A struggle with my integrity turns me into a stunned mullet. I can’t in all honesty say a glib: ‘Fine thanks’. Nor do I want to nail them to the floor for an hour with the finer details. While I was out walking recently a friendly local rode past me on her bicycle and threw this very question over her shoulder. ‘Wretched thanks’ I answered but the reply was clearly lost on the wind because she never turned back! What I want to say in response to this common greeting is: ‘Can’t you ask me an easier question?’ Writing my feelings out has cleared my mind and led me to framing as honest a response as I can muster so I am ready for the next ‘How are you?’ In future I will say: ‘I’m travelling well thanks’. This is true. There is a long way to go yet but I intend to do it all as well as possible. I tried this out at a local gathering last Saturday. I was singing with the Rhythms of the Reef women’s barbershop chorus in the village hall. Many of the audience were solicitous. My positive answer to the inevitable ‘how are you’s, delivered with a smile, evinced clear relief in my enquirers; so it served both as a positive reinforcement for myself and a gift to them.
A positive greeting