"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
-- Unknown

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

When in trouble: deny, deny, deny

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat:Tell us about a lie you told that you later regretted.

Oooh, which one will I pick? Can I tell two? I know that makes me sound like a really dishonest person, but there are two big lies that stand out vividly in my mind.

Big Lie Number One:
Believe it or not, I stayed in trouble most of my teen years. Not at school and not with the law – but at home, where privileges could be taken away and life could be made as boring as possible. I had a quick temper and a sassy mouth. But Big Lie Number One had nothing to do with either one of those vices. This particular lie was supposed to keep my butt out of trouble. It failed miserably.

When I was sixteen, I began driving my stepdad’s old car. Looking back now, I appreciate it a lot more. But to a teenage kid, a metallic gold 1989 Grand Prix with black tinted windows seemed a little…. Ghetto. In fact, that’s what my friends called it. The gold ghetto car. Nice friends, huh?

Anyway, at 17, my stepdad did something totally unexpected and probably undeserved by my dishonest little self. He bought me a new vehicle. But there was one stipulation: I could only drive it when I wasn’t grounded. If I got in trouble, I had to drive the gold ghetto car. Needless to say, with my track record being what it was, I rarely ever drove the new car. (Despite my best efforts to be good, of course.)

So, you can understand why, when I was finally allowed to drive it, I might have told a tiny little fib to keep myself out of trouble, right? Except maybe it wasn’t so tiny.

One night, my friend Alan and I went to a play that his girlfriend was in. Unfortunately for her, the play was boring and Alan begged me to drive him home. He decided he’d go to her house and wait for her there, so she wouldn’t be too mad when the play was over and he wasn’t waiting backstage. Well, his girlfriend lived in a new neighborhood that still had some construction areas. And the streets weren’t lit. And apparently I’m blind.

As I was turning a corner near the front of the neighborhood, I simultaneously heard a horrendous noise and felt the car shudder and nearly fall apart. I had no idea what I had hit, but I knew I had definitely hit something. I got out of the car and saw a huge, broken piece of concrete lying in the road. I looked under the car to see what the damage was, but because it was so dark, I couldn’t see a thing. So I did the what made the most sense (at the time). I got in the car and drove home.

I honestly thought I was in the clear. The car seemed to be driving okay. I thought it might be pulling to the right a little, but chalked that up to being paranoid. By the following afternoon, I had nearly forgotten my late night accident.

Unfortunately, my stepdad drove the car the next day and, as he had no reason to be paranoid, he had no explanation for the fact that he couldn’t keep the car on the road. Apparently the slight pull that I felt was more like a gigantic jerking that made it nearly impossible to drive.

I was sitting at my cousin’s house that afternoon when he showed up unexpectedly. As calmly as possible, he asked me if I’d had any trouble with the car the night before.

Me: “No. Why?”
Him: “Nothing? No problems? You didn’t hit something? Maybe a bad pot-hole? Or maybe you ran off the road?”
Me: “No. Why?”
Him: “Heather, don’t lie. If you did something, just tell me.”
Me: (relentlessly denying any responsibility) “I didn’t do anything. What’s wrong?”
Him: (holding up a piece of steel, bent in the shape of a Z) “This came from underneath your car. It’s supposed to be straight.”
Me. “Oh?”
Him: “And there’s about $1,600 dollars in other damages. So what did you hit?”
Me: “Nothing…. Oh, you know. There was this one thing….”

Yeah. Needless to say, I didn’t drive that car for quite some time. In fact, I didn’t get to do much of anything for quite some time.

So - lesson learned, right? No more lies from me?


Check back later to hear about Big Lie Number 2.


Anonymous said...

You? lie? I don't remember...

Mel said...

You know if it had been one of your other friends driving that car, you would have been the "nice" friend calling it the gold ghetto car!

Diane said...

You know what I call Ryan when she lies? Fibber McGee.

Good story, Fibber McGee! ;)

Anonymous said...

You grew up to be such a nice person, too! I guess you got it all out of your system early. Good for you. By the way, your parents are saints.


J Cosmo Newbery said...

Are you telling us the truth?

Jenners said...

You should have taken the out you had ... you might have gotten off a little lighter.

And I'm quite anxious to hear about Big Lie #2! Are you really not a grown-up? Are you really only 12 or somethig? ;)