Thursday, May 7, 2009
Which is not a bad thing. After all, I am trying to start a conversation here about authenticity in this fake-it-to-make-it world of ours. I am just saying that the inability to lie (about little, relatively inconsequential, things. Calm down.) can sometimes complicate life. How about some examples (in chronological order of course) of my pathetic inability to twist the truth in benign situations?
Exhibit A (I am a senior in high school): It's a mild winter night in Manhattan and two of my best friends and I have all just gotten into college early, so we decide to shelve our good girl selves and have a little fun to celebrate. Our destination of choice? Au Bar. For those not familiar with this delectable den, think: underground, swanky, and very rebellious for a pack of teens. The three of us walk up to the bouncer who's in all black and all smiles. And, thankfully, he doesn't ask for IDs. BUT. Just as he is opening up that red velvet rope thing to let us in, he turns to me and asks, How old are you? Now, I feel my friends' eyes piercing me through my cliched black leather jacket I'm wearing. And I decide now is the time to be perfectly honest. I say, I am seventeen. Rope closed. Unhappy buds. Back home.
Exhibit B (I am a 2L in Law School): It's the very beginning of my second year at Columbia. We are all gathered in fearful flocks at the DoubleTree Hotel somewhere in the morass of midtown. Each of us clutches a list of law firms in our sweaty little fists. After, say, six interviews with different (and yet fungible) firms in different hotel room-cum-interview-abodes, I walk in for my final interview of the day. Anyway, good-looking graying Partner asks me what kind of work I hope to do at his glorious firm. And I realize (and fast) that I have no idea what firm I'm interviewing for. Quick. I look around for clues. But no such luck. Time to wing it. Now all of these firms have big, bad corporate departments. So I tell him I am eager to be a corporate lawyer. Confusion contorts his features. And he says, That's odd. Your resume screams litigation. You'd be perfect in my department. Most people would nod and say, Yes, that is curious, isn't it? and knock that firm off the long list and call it a day. But no. Apparently, I am not most people. I say, You know what? I had no idea your firm had a litigation department. Of course I want to do litigation. Silly me. And, the crazy thing: I got called back for a second interview.
Exhibit C (A few hours ago): I am in a midtown hotel getting a haircut. I come out of my appointment feeling like one of those perky chicks from a shampoo commercial because my hair looks nice and is for once not looped into a greasy bun atop my head. But it is raining outside. Pouring. So I find a friendly-looking hotel staffer and ask if there is somewhere I can purchase an umbrella. And he says, If you are a hotel guest, they will give you an umbrella. And I say, But I am not a hotel guest. He looks at me like I am a wee bit crazy and says in a whisper, Well, tell them you are a hotel guest and they will give you one. So, like a good girl, I do what I am told. I tell the hotel guy behind the little stand-thing that I need an umbrella. He walks into a closet and gets me one, but just before handing it over, he asks, What is your room number? And I say, I do not have a room number. He looks at me like I am a criminal. But I am not a criminal. Just an amateur liar.
Are you a good liar? Or, like me, are you bizarrely and painfully honest ALL OF THE TIME?