“What are you doing?”
“Nothing.” This is usually said as a book, magazine or website is hastily closed or stuffed under a pillow. For me personally, it is a romance novel that is very silly, or a website devoted to Harry Potter, and on occasion “Toddlers and Tiaras” on Netflix. I am 26 years old, an adult; I have other things that really need my time.
“What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing.” When directed to a man, this can actually be an accurate answer. If directed to a woman, she is lying. Either her thoughts are very silly, and she doesn’t want to tell anyone, or there is something that is complicating her life. For me, I have two reasons I answer this way: one is that the person who asked me is part of the complication and I don’t want to discuss it with them just yet, or I feel that if I try to explain myself, they will discount my difficulty as trivial and not worth the worry.
“There is nothing to do!” Usually announced in the throes of boredom, this should mean that the house is spotless, dinner made, the table set, laundry all done, and the animals fed. It actually means that there is noting fun, exciting, stimulating, or thought provoking to do. Laundry is never ending battle, the whole house is never clean all at once, and dinner is not usually planned very far in advance (not at my house anyhow). There is always SOMETHING to do.
“It’s nothing.” When thanked for service or help given, this is often the reply we give, most especially when we are angry and frustrated with the situation at hand. We have put our needs on hold, given our time (and sometimes money) to help this person out, and we are tired and SO OVER IT! And they are not as grateful and we think they should be, under the circumstances.
“What have you been up to?”
“Nothing.” We either have boring lives and this is true, or we are unable to express what has been going on, because it sounds much easier to deal with than it is and when we try to describe it, we find ourselves feeling stupid. We would rather say that nothing is going on than try to explain what we do with our time.
To all appearances, we spend our lives invalidating everything we think, say, or do. Somehow we must make the conscious choice to allow that even the silliest, least productive things we do are alright to admit to. We are always doing something, thinking something (unless you are a man, and then you do think nothing occasionally, which women envy) or saying something. Even when we are asleep we breath and our hearts beat. We must admit that "something" is happening, every minute of every day.