Sunday, November 1, 2015

I lied – NOVA this week (October 31, 2015)

Observations from my weekly wanderings, usually in Northern Virginia (NOVA).

I have serious doubts as to whether I will deem this fit for publishing, but if you’re reading it – I guess I did.

I realized today, that I’ve been lying for the past month or so, that is, that I’ve repeatedly been telling the same lie again and again.

When someone asks me “How are you?” I invariably say, “pretty good” or “fine” or at the worst “OK”.

But the truth is I’m not OK; I’m rather miserable. There’s a circumstance in life that is stealing my joy. I won’t be going into it, so don’t ask. It’s just a circumstance. It’s terribly sad, because it is completely unnecessary, and has made a number of people miserable.

My point though is not the circumstance; the circumstance will pass. My point is I’ve lied about how I am.

Why? I think for starters, I don’t want sympathy, much less pity. I don’t want to burden others with something they didn’t cause and cannot affect.

Well for starters I think that’s true, but I don’t think it’s the whole truth. If I’m honest with myself, I think there’s a little pride behind it. I’m generally known as a cheerful guy, unflappable even and I suspect I take some pride in that.

So I smile and say I’m fine, even though I am not.

And I may owe an apology to ole Virginia Woolf. I’ve been critical of the duplicity of her characters and the stark contrast between their public façade, and private thoughts, only to discover the same disingenuousness in myself.

It’s also given me an improved opinion of stream of consciousness writing. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think it will ever be my favorite form of writing, but I begin to appreciate the challenge and vulnerability of the form. Our consciousness is an incredibly complex thing. We seldom think in full sentences, with linear logic, or subject – verb  agreement, etc. Our thoughts would be a garbled mess to anyone else (sort of like reading Woolf, Faulkner, or Joyce), but they make perfect sense to our own self. I don’t think it makes for great storytelling, but I’ll admit it takes some skill of the writer.

Well anyway, they say confession is good for the soul, and it also seemed like a challenging writing topic. Again, I don’t want sympathy. For those who are on speaking terms with the Lord of Circumstance, you may intercede on my behalf if you like. I would appreciate that.

Now I must plan a more honest response to the inevitable greetings I’ll receive tomorrow.

Live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.


  1. I think sometimes in cases like this, we lie about how we are because we don't want to make others feel badly as well. Which is at least thinking of others, right? In any case, I'm sorry about your situation and hope that sunnier skies are ahead for you, after the grey mists pass. I'll keep you in my prayers!

  2. We're all liars then.

    My architecture professor asked why we would even ask that question of someone when we don't really care. (That sounds really hard, I know.) So why put him or her on the spot to answer a question we know they probably won't be truthful about, or we are not really able to respond to if they are.

    Nonetheless, it is good to be truthful, and you can do so w/o giving details and inviting people to dig deeper. You don't have to tell people everything.

    Don't you love how authors write stories and develop characters that we may relate to, that we can learn from, that make us think differently about life's circumstances?

  3. I would also answer (lie) and say ok to most people because the question is often asked out of habit & not necessarily because the person asking is really interested. I'm not ok at the moment because I have 22 stitches in my face but unless someone sees me they wouldn't know & would think I was fine. I'm on speaking terms with the Lord of Circumstances & will gladly intercede.

    1. Ouch! Thanks Carol, and I'll remember you as well.


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