Sound Bytes

I know he is just being polite, and that he asks everyone the same thing, but I cannot help but be a little amused when I visit the local Family Health Clinic and my doctor greets me with a “how are you today?”  He, like everyone else, myself included, has resorted to what I call a sound byte.  Stock comments that we rip off automatically without giving them another thought.

We have a lot of these little throw away lines and they have become an accepted part of our verbal interface with others.  And, I’ll bet that you, like me, probably always give the polite response and ignore the obvious.  However, I’ll also bet I’m not the only one that has bitten their tongue to keep from unleashing a zinger.  For instance, while checking out at the local grocery store one blustery day last winter, the clerk smiled and asked “is it still cold out there?”  Every fiber in my body screamed for me to say “no, actually it’s in the 70’s and I’m headed home to crank up the grill.”  But of course, I said “it sure is.”

I was once standing in my office when a guy stuck his head in the door and said “do you work here?”  Oh, so many opportunities and so little time.  “No, actually I’m unemployed.  I’m just waiting around to see if anything opens up.”  Of course, I said “yes, can I help you?”

Then there are the times when entering a restaurant that the hostess says “hello, will you be dining with us tonight?”  Who among us hasn’t wanted to say “Gee, I hope so.  We are kind of hungry and just drove sixteen miles to get here, instead of “yes.”  Or when the waiter/waitress, upon looking at a strikingly empty plate says “if you are through, I’ll take that”, and you fight back the urge to reply “unless you see something I missed, I guess you can have it”, but instead say “yes, thank you.”

How many of you have kids that will stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open and ask “are we out of milk?”  “No dear, there are two bottles on the shelf in the pantry.”  The problem with that one is, the next sound you will hear is “I don’t see any in here either.”  Just smile and breath deeply.  They do grow up.

I once attended a massive fireworks display in Louisville, as part of the annual Kentucky Derby celebration.  The finale easily lasted ten minutes, turning night into day with multiple brilliant explosions lighting up the sky.  When it was over, the guy next to me said “Wow, did you see that?”  “No, I must have nodded off.  What happened?”  Oh, if only.

Maybe, just maybe, the next time I visit my doctor and he greets me with a “how are you today”, I’ll ask him how many of his patients make an appointment because they feel good and just want to come in and share the news.  But of course, I will say “fine thanks.’


About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Adult Language, Humorous, Narrative, Random Thoughts, Reflection and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Sound Bytes

  1. NigelG says:

    When people say “Morning” to me at work, I always feel like saying “Yes, I know”. One day I might just do that. Then again …


  2. msmcword says:

    My favorite “Sound Byte” is when I am at the check-out lane at a store and before ringing up my purchases the cashier asks me, “Will that be all?” I always say, “Yes” but just once I would like to answer with “Well, duh, I wouldn’t be standing in this lane right now if I had more things to get.”


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