html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Really, it was nothing.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Really, it was nothing.

Sometime in the mid-90’s, my then-boyfriend and I met up with a bunch of his high school friends at Gordon Biersch in San Francisco. The dot-com boom was treating them well and they were talking happily about their jobs. I tried to listen, because my mother told me about good manners and god knows my natural tact is not going to get me through this life. But the woman across from me was going on and on, something about her huge salary and office, and how they like her so much that when this other company tried to hire her away, they just had to give her a raise and a car. She probably told me what kind of car it was, but that’s the kind of detail that loses me every time. I hope I looked attentive, but inside I went back to counting Rachel haircuts.

As we drove home, my then-boyfriend said the only thing that could have made her interesting to me. “You know she was lying, right?” I was shocked. It hadn’t even occurred to me. He said that she had been a compulsive liar even in high school, and all that stuff about raises and bonuses was more of the same. I hadn’t doubted a word. I know so many people whose accomplishments just blow me away. Why wouldn’t she be another one?

But more than that, I can’t imagine lying about stuff like your salary. I mean, if I were a compulsive liar, I would be all “For a split second, I didn’t know which to do. Catch the baby falling from the burning building, or dive through the open window of the runaway fire truck to steer it away from the crowd of helpless bystanders? Then I realized how I could do BOTH.” Lie about a corner office? Jesus, why?

I haven’t seen her in years. For her sake, I hope she's realized that she doesn't have to impress her friends with lies about her salary. The world is such a big place, and there are so many better things to lie about.

…The firefighters were so grateful for my help. They had taken off their shirts in the roaring heat, and the light from the dying flames flickered across their sooty, sweaty chests. One fireman came over to ask if he could thank me more personally…

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3 Comments:

Blogger Housekeeper said...

I use to lie about random things to strangers when I was bored. I figured "Hell they don't know me and it's entertaining". My favorite one was to tell people my name was Bob...not many college girls named Bob.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Sweet Coalminer said...

I used to tell people I had an 8-inch penis taped to the inside of my leg.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous trieu said...

As we drove home, my then-boyfriend said the only thing that could have made her interesting to me. “You know she was lying, right?”

Nicely written! That's superb narration.

1:15 AM  

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