"How are you?"
What I say:
"Good. How are you?"
What I would say if I knew the person really wanted to know:
"Shitty. In the last six weeks, my grandma died, I was in a major car accident, a friend's 28 year old brother went to bed and didn't wake up, and just when I thought it couldn't get worse because 'that's three', my colleague and "baby brother" collapsed on his classroom floor in a seizure, fracturing his skull and is out of work for God-knows-how-long. So, now, I have to go buy a stupid new car, which I don't want because I can't afford one, nevermind that my insurance is going to go up for that new car, and my adjustors are all concerned that I don't spend money out of pocket for a stamp, but can't help the thousands of dollars I'll be out because some asshole apparently thought I was a ghost car that he could turn through, OR, like in so many other aspects of my life, I was completely invisible and he didn't see me at all. I'm also in intense physical pain following any activity other than laying down, can't turn my neck to a respectable (or safe) distance, and can't do yoga. Not only can't I do yoga, I also can't teach it, which is more money I'm out for however long, and just when I should be picking up more classes, I'm fighting to keep the ones I have. And I miss my yoga, which was my stress relief. So now, at possibly the most stressful environment I've ever been in in my life, I have no outlet.
That response seems to be just a tad too lengthy for someone who just shouts out the "how are you" in passing in the hallway. But, I don't have the energy to lie and say "Good." And I don't really care how anyone else is right now. I'm in no shape to help out anyone but me. I'm waking around in this dream state--that place where everyone seems like they're talking really loudly but they're probably not, and it's all kind of fuzzy anyway? So what I do is just stare at them and try to form an appropriate answer, but by the time I have one, they're gone without hearing me because they never really wanted to know in the first place.
So, don't ask me how I am, please...just refer to the above.