Monday, September 12, 2011

Tell Me Lies

Several months ago a woman I know lied to me. She did not omit nor dance around the truth, she lied. She looked me in the eye and told me a lie. It was more than "yes I used soap when I washed my hands" and less than "the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." It caused no permanent damage, it did me no harm, but it bothers me still.

The lie involved our children, it was a fabrication, the creation, in her mind, of something that did not happen, and the retelling of that fiction. It wasn't the substance that bothered me in that I knew immediately that it was untrue, but that she felt the need to tell this story. She reached across the table, patted my arm and condescendingly reinforced the known lie. I said nothing.

Jack wanted to appear at her door and announce that he knew she told a lie. I convinced him this was not necessary as I was certain that she was well aware she had just lied, the issue was that she didn't seem to care. That I find to be concerning. In all honesty, I'm not always honest. Occasionally Jack will call to find out just how late we are and I will say that we are almost to the train when we have really more than one block left to walk, and then I urge the girls to walk even faster, to make time to cover my misleading location fib. When I am tired or frustrated or angry I will answer "fine" in response to "how are you?". I do not tell people that the food they have put in front of me is horrible, or bland, or overcooked, and in that omission, I am not telling the truth. But with these untruths now revealed, I can confidently say that I strive every single day to lead a very honest life, and so I am shocked to find that blatant lying, as an adult, can come this easily. Akin to littering, didn't we all learn long ago that garbage goes best in a garbage can and not tossed into the park? Didn't we all learn that honesty was the best policy?

Last year a parent at school suggested to me, in front of their child, that we, as a school, lie to the school board regarding class instruction time specifics. I'm certain my jaw actually dropped just a bit in response. You are suggesting we mislead the authority which governs the school, and you are suggesting this idea in earshot of your impressionable eight year old child?

Even if I wanted to, I couldn't do it; I'm a terrible liar. My parents knew it, as does my husband. I become quite befuddled; I stammer, giggle, cry, vomit, spin in a circle and bray like a donkey when attempting to mislead anyone. Not true of liar woman, she handled it with ease, smoothly rolling out her story with nary an animal sound nor a single tear. Maybe that's why it sticks with me, and maybe that's why I now feel like I have to question everything she says.

And that's the truth.

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