- Holly Searle
- London, United Kingdom
- Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.
Sunday, 29 December 2013
My mum is always telling me that I am far too honest. She is probably right as I can't tell lies. I may on occasion have exaggerated the truth a little, but who hasn't? No, not me, I have never been able to tell a bare-faced lie, until today.
So how did this happen, how did I bring myself to blatantly lie in such an outrageous fashion to another person?
Well sit back, and I shall tell you.
So I've booked two tickets to an afternoon showing of Billy Wilder's film The Apartment. A film which funnily enough deals with the theme of accommodating the whims of others at the short-term cost of a run of mill office worker to ensure him future professional success. The narrative, just like life, features several healthy portions of deception and truth, as well as a misinterpretations of the facts, in order to protect the reputation of a sweet-natured elevator operator.
All you need to know, is it all ends well for them both.
So, I have two tickets booked. My son and I leave for the cinema with plenty of time to spare. I hate being late, especially for a movie. The bus arrives. We find seats, we sit down. But, the traffic we encountered on the way, may prove detrimental and render us late.
Late is a word I hate. Late is a situation I do not like to find myself in the presence of. My stress levels, like the abundance of cars on the road I am looking at through the window of the bus we are on, start to rise.
When we do eventually arrive at bus stops after spending an age (ice or stone, you choose) in traffic there are unfathomable amounts of queues of all aspects of humanity waiting to get on the bus. People who do not have Oystercards and ask the driver how much the fare is, and then spend another age (iron probably) rooting around for change in their pockets and purses, whilst making a mental note that London public transport fares really are a joke.
Then there are the people who start asking the driver for directions.
I keep checking my watch as I am growing more and more concerned as each precious minute passes, that we shall miss the beginning of the movie. Tick tock, tick tock, tick stress tock.
And then, there are the older people who also join us. One of whom my son immediately gives up his seat for without question, and two whom I ask if they would like to sit down in the seat that I am sitting in, but who refuse my offer.
And that is when it began, the faceless voice from the seat behind mine. First the whining unmistakable Lady Grantham Daily Mail reader whinnying about the world and its wife. It is far too sunny, there are far too many people out for a Sunday, blah, blah blah. And then the sentence that made my blood boil as I sat there quite without reproach looking out of the window and minding my own business.
“I do wish younger people would give up their seat for older people. It is disgraceful the way older people are made to stand on the bus, whilst other people remain seated.”
My immediate thought was, I do hope that isn't being projected in my direction as I am the least insensitive person when it comes to that situation. The amount of seats I have given up over the years on all of my bus journeys could easily fill a Green Shield Stamp book.
So I sit and I think, and I stew, and I prepare. And then I wait.
I check my watch. Hopefully if the adverts and trailers are still filling up the pre-film screen time, fingers crossed, we will just make it as the opening credits of the movie roll.
Tick tock, tick tock, tick exhale stress tock.
And then, just as I am thinking about that and happily lost on an island of quiet contemplation, a boney finger starts stabbing me on the shoulder. Just like Blofeld, I want to turn and deliver the apt line “Ahhh, Mr. Bond, I have been expecting you.” But I don't say that, I turn and I am met with the wizen old face of Boe, my bus Nemesis that this time demands that I understand that it was me its once faceless voice was addressing previously. She says “Next time you are on the bus you should give up your seat for someone else.”
So, and here is it, here is the lie I told, I look her right in the eye and say “I would but I have a prosthetic leg and today it is causing me some pain, and unfortunately I cannot stand.”
“Really? At you age?” she retorts without so much as a pause in her best Maggie Smith.
I turn away. I have just told a lie. I have just told this lie to prove a point. And that point is, that no one young or old should ever make an assumption about anyone else's actions, as there could be a perfectly good explanation.
Or, in my case, I was as mad as hell with that old lady's vocalized critical condemnation of my apparent lack of actions that she hadn't been privilege too. How very dare she.
I don't regret that lie, I used it like Harry Houdini would have used a carefully contrived illusion to trick an audience into having to reconsider every aspects of what it had just bore witness too, and to review it from a new perspective.
What I do regret, was the misconstrued kindness of the other passengers who made sure my exit from the bus was trouble-free.
Thank you for your concern and please accept my apology. Especially for the theatrical limping I shamelessly adopted until the bus had passed me.
Although, it was a shame that I had to stoop so low to extract such empathy to prove a point.
Next time, I am sitting on the upper deck far from the maddening Downton Abbey crowd.
And by the way, the film was sublime.