Responses to being asked ‘How are you?’
Man, 50s, re-potting saplings. Jeans, t-shirt: All right, my man.
Man, 60s, digging up tree stump. Jeans, open neck shirt: I’ll be all right when I get this thing out.
Man, 60s, weeding driveway with long hoe. Bucket hat, jeans, t-shirt, face mask: Humphliphhtschts.
Man, 70s, painting small headless ankylosaurus garden statue with silver paint. Shorts, open neck shirt: Still buggering on.
Man, 50s, supervising building work. Jeans, plaid shirt, shooting vest, Stetson hat: Hello, How are you? Have you got a mortgage? Credit cards? If you’re anything like me you’ll pay off any debts… The shits gonna hit the fan… hyperinflation… they don’t care about the likes of us, they’re only interested in lining their pockets… to hell with you and me… you’ll be earning a pittance… get your affairs in order… Pension? Ha!… I don’t know what it is, some people say I’m psychic but I predicted this… global currency reset… neo-liberal conspiracy… Fact, the coronavirus was created in a lab in China… Venezuela… Are you a bit of a prepper too?
I pass the laughing gas canisters and the empty packets of balloons on the pavement and turn up the cul-de-sac of detached mid-century bungalows. ‘Just leave it on the step. It’ll be safe. We don’t have any problems round here’ says the man in the open neck shirt and bucket hat. At the house thirty yards back down the main road the signs on the gate read THIS PROPERTY IS UNDER CONSTANT SURVEILLANCE CCTV and BEWARE OF DOG DO NOT ENTER.
Two white men in their 60s in front of me in the queue are reading racist memes to each other from their phones. After four failed attempts at pronouncing the word democracy the fat one in the big shorts gives up suddenly when his black friend comes to join them.
Everything people said to me on the estate today
Where’s the other one?*
Where’s he gone?*
Bye, thanks luvvie
Pop it on the bin there
Where’s the other one?*
Cheers, thanks a lot
She’ll not bother you, she’ll lick you to death. I had to train her myself with a chair and a whip
Nice day for it
Never mind him, through here
Is he off all week? I hope it pisses down*
Are you coming here?
If it’s a bill you can keep it
As long as you’re not using it as a shortcut. People do. Not allowed.
Isn’t it warm
Thank you, thank you very much
*Reference to the usual postman whose delivery I was covering.