Call it a reluctance to face too much reality, but transience
seems to be my natural state. Sitting on a train racing through
countryside, glimpsing water, sunlight, greenery, stone, flashing
in weaving in and out of dark tunnels, used to be my rush.
Now its a ceasefire.
Its a way of not having to think of whats happening
to families in Lebanon, in Israel, in Iraq, in America, in
England, because of the way their egos destroy to dominate.
What gene is that? The gene to gain power and territory, blindly
bombing women children innocent people? Where is the requisite
world indignation against the slaughter of the innocents now
that its required. Its scampered off huddled like
a craven sycophantic beast cowed by power.
Late one night, in a Barnes and Noble in New York, my coffee
neglected, I scoured through books and magazines; hands and
eyes whipped through pages, titles, words with only five minutes
before the shop closed, I heard a male voice, Who do
you think lies more, men or women? He had questioning
eyes, his wild black hair pressed down in a skullcap. He was
dressed in the uniform of faded jeans and a t-shirt.
Women I said decidedly, then feeling like a traitor
added hastily, but only small lies, lots of white lies
that save peoples feelings. One eyebrow shot up.
Well we wont tell a friend we forgot her birthday. Well
say we tried to call. Stuff like that. He cocked his
I barely knew what was coming out of my mouth then because
young people are intimidating since they havent yet
learned to dissemble. I was in front of a mass of human honesty
there. One false note and he would pick it up.
Men dont tell many lies, I said, but
when they do, they tell you the big ones, like Enron, phantom
weapons of mass destruction, adding or taking away a couple
of digits for their own benefit on a lucrative contract.
Men make big lies
We were now joined by his tiny teenaged girlfriend who was
cheering me on wanting the stuff she knew instinctively to
Out on the street, I warmed up to my monologue buoyed by the
I know someone who was told on the first day of her
new job that actually there was a mistake, theyd under
or over budgeted, they were sorry but she was fired but not
compensated. She hadnt put down her briefcase yet. Thats
And a woman I know thought she was in a very happy marriage.
Swore by team work to bring up her family, then found out
that her husband was seeing another woman for the past ten
years. She had to go into her memory bank and wipe out or
edit every bit of her life with him. What was real what was
Big lie. Another friend was promised by a reputable
company that shed be paid for the work she was doing
as soon as head office approved it. It turned
out that she did three months work for nothing. Because they
forgot about her.
She had no people on the side of power.
I know women lie. We say we are 110 pounds when we are
120, pretend to be awake when sleeping, are mercurial, lie,
But those lies, like Enron, like Iraq, like big cheating,
like using power unlawfully, those are lies.
The boy took off his hat and looked at the girl who looked
at him suspiciously.
Bullies are cowards, shouted the boy. Fight
them. Expose them.
Justice! she said.
Nah, I said, just dont allow yourself
to be crapped on because youre young, poor, or powerless.
They werent ready for that tired talk yet.
Live strong, said the girl, walking away with
a raised fist.
That memory makes me smile, and I hope their clarity is not
as fleeting as a slab of light that rumbled into darkness
as we enter a dark tunnel.