There's an instantaneous question that almost always follows the greeting, "Hello". We ask, "How are you doing?"
Within that brief pause, there is space enough for several thought processes. We, in a hurried sort of way, hope the answer is one that doesn't require much listening. We find that we've done our part by asking, and a one or two word reply should be sufficient, and our reward for being polite.
On the other hand, when we are asked how we are doing, sometimes it's easier to find that one programmed word that excuses us from the conversation; and sometimes from our truth. It's a strange and awkward space at times. To hear the answer or not. To tell the answer or not.
Sometimes "fine" is what it really is. But when it isn't, I hope we don't miss it.