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Monday, January 19, 2009

I’m Fine

A friend just landed in Mumbai for a month of training to fly for their national airline. He’s been a pilot his whole career but for a technical rule around age he can no longer fly for an American company. But that’s not the story here.

We’re chatting on Skype like we were across town. He’s talking about the masses of humanity living in squalor… like scenes from the current sleeper hit “Slumdog Millionaire…” and about his hotel being in the middle of nowhere, and the company being somewhat less than efficient, and the omnipresent layer of dirt. So, how’s it going? “Fine…” he says.

Well, in my world, “fine” is about as bad as it gets. It’s one of those words that if it means anything, it’s bad. Kind of like “good”... it’s a word that communicates nothing. So, I shifted gears…

“How’s your state of mind right now?”

“Ha! So, you just clicked into work mode!”

Accusation accepted. And, I really wanted to know. I could sense his discomfort.

“Well, I’m apprehensive. I’m unsettled. I don’t know how this is all going to work out.”

Now we’re getting somewhere!

It’s too bad that we’re so conditioned to answer with words that mean nothing. “Good”, “Fine”, “Great”, “Better”, and a dozen others are simply throwaways if you ask me. They’re only worthwhile when you run into someone at the grocery store and don’t want to engage.

If my desire is authenticity in relationships (and it is), perhaps then it is useful to come up with words that actually mean something... “Apprehensive.” “Unsettled.” “Afraid.” “Tender.” “Excited.”

So, How’s it going?