“Are we good?” I asked as she turned to leave. What a stupid thing to say. Dumb guys in ill-fitting suits say that to their departmental subordinates when they should probably apologize for something. Haggard middle school vice principals say that after diffusing cafeteria “situations.” Shitheads say that.
I don’t say that. But I said that. And then I repeated it. “Are we good?”
What scale do you use to measure goodness? Or is it a cup? I want you to take your best caliper and place the tips against my heart. Remember to calibrate it first with your own.
Are? We? Good?
The answer is you don’t know. The answer is I don’t know. But we don’t say that. We say, “I think we are,” which really just means, “we’ll find out.”
“Are we good?”
“Yeah, I think we are.”
“Yeah, I think we are too.”
I guess I don’t just want to know if we’re good. I want to know if we are good for each other—and, if so, for how long? I want to know if you are generally good. I want to know if I make you feel specifically good. Or, I want to know if I make you feel not good, and if I can make it better.
I also want to know if I’m good. Like, am I generally going to be okay? I want to know if I am really such a bad person. Or am I maybe just a haggard middle school principal trying her best to diffuse the cafeteria situation that is my life?
Maybe you are just doing the same. It’s nice to be in this cafeteria with you though. It’s even nicer when you smile. Maybe that’s all we mean when we answer, “Are we good?” with, “I think we are.”
Sometimes thinking is just a mixture of guessing and hoping. For now, I’ll do both. It’s really all anyone in this situation can do. Well, that and wait to find out. Smiling at you across this middle school cafeteria is just a nice way to pass the time.