ARE YOU WELL?
I preach art is life and life is art and a few years ago I actually practiced it. Here is how my attempt to eliminate the boundaries between the two imploded on me, exposing and exploring my theory . Notice how I didn’t really pass the art/life test of seamless, pleasant, transparent union of the two. Here is the story: One afternoon I was standing on the front of the line at the Port of Authority, NYC, waiting to board the NY to Kingston Adirondack Trailways bus. Usually people are still in city mode and keep to themselves unless they have to go to the bathroom and then they might break silence and ask the person in front or back of them to watch their stuff. So when I heard a voice from way in back call out in a friendly and cute way, “Hello Linda, are you well?” I bolted, blanched, bleated and barfed a spontaneous spoken word intervention and answer from deep in my bowels and in not so good performance artist in action fashion, literally sounded, shouted and not so happily addressed the question with the following rude answer to the said female actress I hardly knew. It went like this: “Am I well? Am I well. What do you mean am I well. I have alzheimers (a fear); dementia (a fear); leaky gut (a fear); urinary incontinence (a fear).” And maybe I said more. I don’t remember. And then I said, “Shelly, are you well?” I am forgetting what happened next because it was all so traumatic, the appearance of my performance artist persona off the stage, that is. And what is notable is that it was dementia-like of me to respond that way which totally complicates the entire scenario. Fabulous art/not so fabulous life.
Stuffing the event deep into my unanalyzed and therapeutically untreated back brain, it recently got triggered again. You see, Shelly was a few years ahead of herself using the are you well greeting because NOW, everybody is saying it or emailing their endings, “Be well. Or, hope you are well.” I’m obviously not over the big, pulsing need to correct them when they say the “well” stuff but the worst part is that the performance artist is over it, but Linda the non performance artist is addressing the situation in a way that is completely embarrassing and out of order. The wreckage is much more personally damaging than my Port of authority slippage because NOW, I’m correcting friends, acquaintances and non-friends when the words are heard in my presence or written in emails. And it is not pretty. I don’t know Linda the corrector as well as I do, Linda the performer and as an uncertified stop-wellness officer, I am becoming scary to myself and a persona non grata to those who might want to say Hi to me but are afraid that I might bark a correction. This is not good and it is taking me soon, I promise, to a therapist who I hope will help me trace the trigger to the source. Ooopps, trigger is a bad word too!! And by the way Shelly, if I ever see you again, I will say, ” Remember that day at the Port of Authority? I’m SO sorry. I was wrong, wrong, wrong!”
Here are their answers:
But, really, what is wellness now?
(My complaint is that people shouldn’t open with that unless they really want to know, otherwise dopes like me forget sometimes and answer the question)
RICH BRANDES: Research reveals that travelers in Merry Olde England visiting pubs and taverns in unfamiliar villages might ask an establishment if they served a favorite dish known as Beef Wellington. The question “Are you serving any Beef Wellington?” was shortened to “Are You Beef Wellington?” and later to simply “Are You Well
As meat eating has become less popular the phrase “Are you well” has fallen out of favor.