She Had Me From Hello

I recently greeted a coworker with ‘havin fun?’ The are you and the g were implied and I see this person everyday so I thought nothing of it. She stopped me and the conversation went something like this:

Katie: Did you say ‘having fun?’
Me: Yep, but without the ‘g.’
Katie: Why do you ask that?
Me: It’s how I say hi.
Katie: Then why not just say hi?
Me: I’m just trying to be different.
Katie: But why do you say it?
Me: It’s just how I greet people.
Katie: But why that? You’d be better off saying nothing.

I didn’t just walk away, I ran and did not pass go or collect $200 as I was trying to avoid breathing her air. She was cute but she wasn’t the one, if there is such a thing, or even one of the one’s I like to greet on a daily basis. I worked with Katie for another two years and found a way to consistently avoid her.

I could blame Katie for my troubles but I never really was good with greetings as they’re so arbitrary. The hand shake is how males meet as it was a way, in days long past, to show the other person you are unarmed. The salute is another archaic way of saying hi and these war-time rituals should be left in the past with the Rubik’s Cube, Paris Hilton, and Eddie Murphy’s comedy career.

In addition to the traditional handshake and the salute, we have the beer mug shake, the arm wrestle grab, the high-five, and the handshake with the half hug. Sometimes the other person has a different method of hand touching they’d like to use and it becomes quite awkward. I used the fist bump recently and the greetee, not knowing how to do a bump, actually wrapped their hand around my fist and shook it.

The handshake worked before germ theory and prior to us realizing that people are gross and wipe their nose with their hand and sneeze in them and don’t wash them after the bathroom and pick underwear out of their ass just before shaking your hand.

To avoid the shake, I pull a Bob Dole and carry something in my hand and make the hands full gesture. I’ve also ducked into a store at the mall. How does the mall greeting work anyway? Do you say ‘hi’ and keep walking? Is it polite to show them your purchases? How soon can you point to your watch and say you have to go?

The ‘havin fun?’ greeting is not new and I’ve been using it for years. It beats a ‘hey’ or ‘hi’ or ‘howdy’ or ‘was up?’ and I so hate the ‘how’s it goin, dude?’ and the ‘was shakin homie?’ I stay away from the standard greetings and the dull people who use them because when I’ve said ‘hi’ in the past, people say  ‘hi’ and I’m stuck in a boring conversation with a boring person. The ‘how are you today?’ sometimes produces the answer to the question and you hear how they are actually doing because you gave them an open invitation to tell you.

I use ‘havin fun?’ as it does a number of things. It’s a unique way of saying ‘hi’ and it asks a question while making a statement. It’s a way of being fun and original and playful and ironic. It helps you stand out yet somehow blend in. It shows you’re hip without being too in your face about it. It says you’re professional and efficient, without being stuffy or pretentious. It also takes the person out of the funk they’re in typically elicits a smile or at least an ‘oh yeah’ or ‘of course.’ And last but definitely most, it helps to screen people as the grumpy ones content with staying grumpy usually avoid me the next time.

While waiting on line at Starbucks, you’re always waiting as they make coffee one time wasting cup at a time, I had the attractive stranger behind me say ‘hello.’ I said ‘havin fun?’ back as it would have been awkward to meet a ‘hello’ with a ‘hello’ and I wanted to see how fun she was and it’s a good thing they took twenty minutes to make her coffee because if she had been drinking it during our chat, it would have shot out of her nose and onto my shirt. And that’s just no way to greet anyone. We had a cute conversation which migrated to a small table in the Starbucks night club lighting.  She had me at ‘hello’ and she was the one, but to be perfectly honest, she could have had me at ‘hola’ or ‘hiya’ or ‘was happenin' dawg?’