Saturday 28 October 2017

#295 The truth about Tulse Hill

I was in Tulse Hill last night. It reminded me of the last time I was there. The place hadn't changed much. It could be any London High Street.

Seven years ago, before moving to Dulwich, I'd viewed a house there. Creepy blocks of accommodation lining the pavements. Vans sitting spray-painted with flat tyres. The stairwell was tiled like a public toilet. I wouldn't have gone up there but I didn't want to disappoint.

The landlady had come to meet me. She'd been on one of the four streets with the same name, which inexplicably crossed one another. We walked around waving and talking into our phones 'til she found me.

I could have forgiven her for forgetting details from my message. I'd seen several places myself and couldn't remember everything about each of them. Telling me she wasn't sure if all the housemates were in but didn't want to bother them on my account was probably her biggest mistake.

Fifty percent of what came out of her mouth was bullshit. The only thing I couldn't be certain of was whether she'd clocked that I wasn't interested. In order to save face, it was possible she knew I didn't want the place but that we were both sat there going through the motions. It was the easiest thing to do.

There are different kinds of untruths. Falsehoods. Some people bullshit so habitually they almost don't even know they're doing it. In fact virtually everyone does this now and then. Many people would defend those kinds of untruths if insensitively challenged. Then there are people who've been led astray. It's detectable. They believe what they're saying wholeheartedly but it was already a lie when they learned it. A second-hand lie. Like a car they bought without realising it was faulty. Maybe they never would.

So I sat there. Maybe five minutes' worth of questions. Having a fake conversation. Then I brought it to a close and left. I'd politely text her the next day to say it wasn't for me. To protect her from my disappointment. At least on the surface. People pick up more than they realise.

I wanted to know whether she could tell I hated the place. It seemed possible. Then again, I get told I'm hard to read sometimes. If I had to put money on it, I'd wager she didn't have a goddamn clue.


Fizzfan said...

There’s a lot of levels of bullshit and gauging them all and how to react to it is anyone’s guess as to what is and isn’t appropriate.
Appropriate? Probably something to do with how polite you are. Or similarly, a bullshitter yourself.
I’m a fan mostly.
Keeping it ‘real’ is great in safe situations when people know you well, but during first meetings we’re usually in best behaviour mode, or again just bullshitting a bit.

Preparing for job interviews is probably one of the best examples. It’s like learning to take on a different personality.

There’s nothing wrong in it, we all do it, we all know other people do it, it’s just how much it stinks that makes the difference between good and bad I suppose.

Profound Familiarity said...

I like the thought of minimising the bulshit.

Fizzfan said...

Oh me too, I think it would be hilarious for about 5 minutes and then people would probably start to cry or resort to violence.
These sensitive types spoil all the fun:)