(This may wax philosophical. I have forewarned.)
Yesterday, an old friend asked how I was. We haven’t spoken in months or a year or more so it seemed like a fair question. I answered that I am fine, Kevin just got back from DC and the kids are starting summer sports. He replied how he was doing and didn’t mention his wife at all. It caused me to question two things: Is he still married? and When did I become an entity?
I caused myself to become paranoid. I started to wonder if I had no identity. If my identity was found only in my family. If I was one of those women who have midlife crisis once there children are gone because they have never developed their interests while their children are at home. And then I laughed.
Anyone who knows me knows I don’t identify myself as a mom. While in Cancun, when people asked me what I do, I told them I am a writer. They actually started conversations with me. Whenever I say I am a mom, they reply: “That is the greatest job anyone can have.” And then the conversation ends. Dead space. Awkward silence. And then they talk about someone else’s job. This time people asked me what I write and where I publish and my interests. Moms don’t have those interests. Besides their kids of course. And who wants to hear about those? I don’t. So I now recommend coming up with an occupation for stay at home moms that you can tell people when it comes up in a conversation. Then the conversation continues. You could always choose a career of the main character of the latest book you have been reading. Unless you are a Twilight Mom. Then you are screwed.
So after pondering my reaction to the simple question: How are you? I realized I was right and he was wrong. When you haven’t seen someone for a year or even a month, I think you are asking How is Life? And that generally means all of life. My life includes my family. When you see someone weekly and they ask how you are, they want to know how YOU are and not how life is. So my friend should have said something about his wife and he didn’t. Now I have to figure out a way to subtly find out if he is still married. This makes my life very difficult. He should have just answered my question more fully. And this goes for all of you out in cyberspace:
How are you?