On my way to London, I walk the length of the busy train to find a seat. A ruddy-necked man soon plonks himself down in front of me. As we are pulling out of Brighton station, his mobile rings:
“I’m nearly there, just five minutes away from Victoria”, he tells someone, puzzlingly.
I instantly realise that he must be talking to the significant female in his life. The conversation cuts in and out as we go through the tunnels on the outskirts of the Brighton line, yet he is at pains to repeat his lie again. I try to think of charitable interpretations for his casual deceit – he’s buying her a special birthday treat, setting up a surprise anniversary party, or trying to ease the suffering of an agoraphobic partner who fears he will never come home. Like I say, I try, but I fail. I glimpse his name, Des Turner, on the illuminated screen of his mendacious mobile, and wish I had leaned forward and bellowed ‘Actually, we’ve only just left Brighton’ over his surprised shoulder.
I’m not sure why his casual lying bothered me so much. Perhaps I was just pissed off at being forced to witness it. We all tell lies, and for a multitude of reasons – sometimes over unimportant matters, or to be kind. But this seemed like an ugly, sneaky lie to me. If you’re reading this, Des, be assured; us women weren’t all born yesterday, and I for one have my eye on you.