You alright?

In a quick, high-five styled dinner, a friend who lived in the area for a few years mentioned that locals have a very strange [to Americans] greeting of “You alright?” When Lynn told me about it, I hadn’t experienced myself, yet. I think the way she described it to me perfectly exemplfies how I feel every time someone asks me. Though I can’t recall her exact words; I was a little jet lagged when we met and had only been in the country for a few hours.

In essence, “You alright?” is an informal British greeting. And sometimes it also intends to be a way to question your well-being. As in, “How ya’ doing?”

No matter how many times I’ve heard this phrase now, from co-workers to store clerks, I still am a little frozen with how exactly to respond. Generally, I pause and panic, thinking, “Do I look unwell? Maybe I don’t look alright today. Do I have toothpaste on my face? Do I look a little extra frazzled today?” And by the time the words, “yes, and you?” utter from my lips, it has already been too late in the game of greeting someone. With time, I’m sure that this phrase may become a part of my normal, day-to-day vocabulary. At least one can hope.

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