“Are you okay?”
A young man asked me that last week. I was entering a building at the community college, he was exiting.
I was completely fine, so I was taken aback by his concern. I had only a second to think of a reason he might have asked.
”Oh, I’m just cold,” I said, because he would soon discover it was 15 degrees outdoors (-9 Celsius).
The cold was a handy excuse, and it kept me from huffing, “I am perfectly fine, young man.” That might not have been why he asked if I was okay.
I was opening a heavy door and I’m sure that looked awkward.
I am in my late fifties, and the young man may have interpreted my sags and wattles as some tumorous face disease.
There is now a permanent vertical wrinkle line between my eyebrows. Perhaps I always appear to be worried.
Perhaps he assumed — from a distance — I was a plump young college woman, who became increasingly disabled as he got closer.
What he should have asked was, “Are you lost?” because I would have said, “I might be. My class is in the HUM building. I take it that means the humanities building? And if so, is this indeed the Humanities building?” And then I might have babbled, “Oh the humanity,” and the young man would have backed away slowly.
It was nice, though, that instead of:
”You look out of place, lady! I am concerned about you.”
”Mind your manners, you insolent puppy!”
... we said, “Are you okay?” “Oh, I’m just cold.”