When Adam arrives at the studio to record the podcast he usually walks through the door, ear bud in ear and phone in hand and makes a beeline for either the table (where, if he’s not still on a call he puts his phone) or the coffeemaker. On the way he issues his standard greeting: “What’s goin’ on?” This is delivered while he’s on the move–at a ratio of about two What’s Goin’ Ons per every three people– and it’s a very low maintenance kind of greeting neither requiring nor prohibiting a response.
The problem comes when I am the only person in the general direction of said, “What’s goin’ on?” which for whatever reason I often am, probably because I’m usually loitering somewhere between the table and the coffeemaker. And though I want to respond, to indicate that I am a friendly human being and not some weird frigid mannequin, I just never quite eke out a reply in time. It’s as if this is conversational double dutch jump rope and the rope keeps going by and I just stand there watching and telling myself I’m about to jump in. Or as if I’m trying to mount a conversational escalator and I keep extending and then pulling my foot away at the last minute.
Anyway, here’s what happens: He says WGO at which point I find myself either 1) pretending I didn’t hear while fixing my face into an awkward constipated looking half smile to indicate I’m fun-loving 2) looking askance and mumbling something which sounds like the beginning of an answer but which quickly morphs into something more like, “Humph! Mlerfff… [trails into indecipherable hissing sound]” or 3) jumping up and licking his face.
I’m tired of being cliche though! And so I ask you: What is the appropriate response to a semi-asked What’s Goin’ On? Mind you, this WGO is not the same as someone looking at you and saying, “Hey, how was your weekend?” which wouldn’t require any sort of assessment of whether they actually want a response. WGO is in between rhetorical and interrogative. It’s less than a, “How was your weekend?” and more than a “‘sup.” And yet to not answer at all makes me feel like I’m in a never-ending game of hide-and-seek and I’m the one hiding and the other person is just counting to infinity.
I mentioned this to a couple people at the studio last week, because that’s the kind of person I am, and Bald Bryan suggested the best answer is, “That is none of your business.” I do like its undeniable sassiness, however I worry it’s HIS answer and if I start using it Adam will know we sidekicks are organizing. (We’re forming Sidekicks Local 453. Don’t fuck with us.)
Matt who works on CarCast suggested the appropriate answer might be, “Stuff,” which is also good.
What’s goin’ on?
I do like it. But I think we can do better. Here are some options and then you tell me what you think I should go with (suggestions welcome)
Possible responses to, “What’s goin’ on?”
1) “What a week!” (downside: can only be used at end of week)
2) “What a weekend!” (downside: can only be used at beginning of week; could be met with a follow up question about the weekend, something probing like, “Really, what did you do?” and then where does that leave me?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!)
3) “What IS goin’ on?” (downside: I don’t see one)
4) “Exactly.” (downside: it really makes no sense)
5) “Hey, how are you?” (downside: extremely friendly and genuine. Blech!)
6) “Same shit, different day.” (downside: depressingly honest)
7) “Easy Pickles.”