I am sure my friends and regular readers would be shocked to hear my lovely husband, Jeff, thinks I am not an entirely honest person. This belief arises from an incident that occurred in the first year or so of our relationship. Jeff had to travel frequently for his work and I would drive him to the airport in his Saab sedan and pick him up. One day we set out somewhere and the Saab started making a strange knocking sound, as cars of a certain age tend to do. The conversation went something like this:
“I should get that noise seen to,” said Jeff
“Has it always made that noise?” I asked.
“Because I was going to say if you asked me that I had never heard the car making a funny noise before- so you wouldn’t blame me for breaking your car.”
“You would lie to me?” asked Jeff incredulously.
“Mum said we could lie to protect someone’s feelings- so by lying I save you the feeling of being mad at me for breaking your car.”
He didn’t seem grateful at all.
My personal history is littered with numerous examples of my consideration for the feelings of others, particularly my teachers. Sometimes, I was just being a mean little kid.
As in this first example:
1. When she was 5 and I was 7, I told my youngest sister she was adopted.
My middle sister (MS) should take some of the credit for this as well. In fact, it was probably her idea. My youngest sister was different to us because she was blonde, slim and green eyed whereas we were brunette, compact and brown eyed. We had her believing she was adopted for ages, although I’m not sure she knew what it meant. We made her do stuff for us because she was like Cinderella. Which, I suppose, made us the ugly sisters. The fun ended one day when she asked our Mum, “Am I dedopted?” (sic) I don’t remember if we got in trouble or not. Probably.
2. When I was 11, I invented 50 literary quotes, books and authors
My last year of primary school was a nightmare. My mother and stepfather sent us to a private Catholic school and our teacher was a maniac. She gave us an exercise book of 50 pages and told us that when we were reading novels and we came to a splendid piece of writing, we had to copy it into the exercise book. We were expected to fill the book. I was a keen reader but the chances of interrupting my reading to laboriously copy out long pieces of prose was zero. Therefore, on the Sunday before the project was due, I made up 50 literary quotes worthy of Dickens with fictitious book titles and authors to match. My teacher was deeply impressed with the quality of my examples and I got an excellent grade.
3. When I was 12, I invented a parish
In my first year of high school we had to do an assignment on My Parish for Religious Education. This was a bit of a challenge because we didn’t go to church. Going to church and getting myself a parish for the purposes of the assignment would have meant getting up early and riding my bike to the Catholic church a few streets away for a few weeks. That wasn’t going to happen. So I invented a Parish, complete with a floor plan and sketch of the church. It was a wonderful parish. I got a reasonable mark for it and MS handed it in at her school when she had to do the same assignment the following year.
If everyone showed the same consideration for the feelings of others the world would be a much happier place, that’s all I’m saying.