‘Quiet’ is a word you might use to describe an engine, one that purrs along gracefully as the odometer tiptoes its way to seventy. There is a looming tension under the workings of a finely-tuned machine, but it’s a symphony of well-orchestrated sound, drumming itself into a cool buzz that you learn to accept, as much as ignore.
Was something I often heard. And I’d accept, with a hint of mystery. I would nod and smile, just as I had perfected in the mirror just minutes ago in the bathroom.
In a state of naivete, I take words for their face value. When someone says they’re doing okay, I figure it’s because they’re doing okay. And then, seasoned with age, I realize that context slips in ever so gently, illuminating a truth casually swept under a rug – which, by the way, I eagerly flip over and look, because I am so inclined.
And I learn that “okay” no longer just means okay. It could mean various gradations of okay – or sometimes, even the complete opposite of okay.
Woe be to the man who tells you “I’m okay” when in fact they really aren’t. Such men make detectives out of all of us, tirelessly searching for subtext and clues amidst the rubble.