"How are you?? -
How's New York!??!"
.... Says everyone I've every spoken with over the last 6 months.
And before I rant about why I dread this question more than I dread walking past the old homeless man who chants to himself in the shadows on my corner every morning, let me just interrupt myself to quickly say this —
6 months, guys.
I made it SIX MONTHS. (well, on Sunday, but I like to consider myself a forward thinker)
Six months, and all at once it feels like a week and a decade.
Which is part of what makes the initial question so difficult.
Asking me "How's New York!??!" is like, all at once, asking me how is everything and how is nothing.
As if "New York" were an omelette and I midnight customer at an all-night diner.
But it's not that simple.
And even if it were that simple, I pride myself on my ability to over-complicate things.
So, here goes:
never one to disappoint, I will now proceed to hyper-elaborate on the topic by sharing with you some of my verbatim answers that I've given to that exact question over the past few months, just to showcase how big of an idiot I've become:
Q: "How's New York!?" / "How are you?!"
Me: "Oh swell"
Me: "Oh you know. Just chillin"
Me: "you know- good"
Me: "oh you know"
Me: "Oh ok. Pretty regular"
Me: "Eh. Soso"
Me: "As good as it could be"
Me: "you know. Alive."
Me: "everyone's crazy"
Me: "life's like a joke right now"
Me: "I miss sleeping"
not even kidding. I'd send you the screenshots,
but I'm lazy.
And those are just the ones that I answered.
Half the time, I either pretend I didn't read the question in the first place and reply with something wholly unrelated
or I just fail to respond entirely.
So it's great. I've become a mildly self-depreciating, apathatic-sounding, poor communicator and even poorer friend.
Yet, amidst this self-depreciation, let me just defend myself here very briefly:
New York is weird.
Everyone here knows it,
and I'm pretty sure everyone not here knows it too.
Only in this city can you all at once by psychotic, wildly successful, and entirely self-assuredly sane.
So daily interactions can't be characterized by "good" and "bad" or "happy" and "sad" or "fun" or "boring" ...
because every single event is this weird amalgamation of awesome, awe-worthy, annoying, aggravating and absolutely irreplicable —a hard combination of emotions to summarize in a simple, colloquial and socially-acceptable response that fits within the confines of systematically recognizable small talk standards.
And thus- up until now- my solution has been to answer in nonsensical, ambiguous, and obnoxious single word pseudo shrugs.
"Eh", "hmph", "uh", "oh", "mm", and my favorite; "you know",
are conversational staples upon which I've come to rely to convey ... well, the sense that I don't really know what to convey.
So bear with me while I revert to the social competency of a 2 year old
and try to remember how to merge together words into comprehensible phrases.