Thursday, March 25, 2010

RIP Sister

I’ve never been a good liar. I don’t have the boobs for it. In fact, I’m the perfect subject for a “how-to” article: “How To Detect If Someone Is Lying.” I’m really terrible at it; honestly, I am. Unless it’s a little white lie, I become afflicted, immediately infested with guilt, and fall victim to the classic signs: avoiding eye contact, over-detailing the story, over compensating, over-talking, and divert from the topic: “So how about those (insert name of sports team of the sport in season here)!?”

I even battle internal conflict about not divulging complete truths. This was witnessed firsthand by “T” in Corisca, when the landlord of our vacation rental came to do the final inspection and take us to the train station. “So yeah, everything was tres bien, tres super, magnifique… J’adore cet apartement! The heater absolutely didn’t stop working at all (it did), and we definitely didn’t have any problems with the fuse for the electricity constantly blowing out (we did, multiple times. Correction: I did.). And uhhh… oh, all you asked was if you could help me with my backpack? Oh, Oui. Merci.” Meanwhile, being shot looks from “T,” Stop talking, Lauren! At least I didn’t tell him we broke the toilet paper holder on the wall, even though I think it was already broken.

I attribute the truthfulness gene to my mom, who ingrained in my head at a young age, that lying is the most heinous act a person can commit, that is of course, second to addressing groups of people as “You guys.” Ya’ll agree? I’ve accepted that with this trait, I’ve disabled my options of certain professions: Used-car salesman, politician, a priest. I also suck at infidelity… very un-French of me[1].

So, when it came time to call the airlines to barter a credit for the second half of my roundtrip ticket that I failed to postpone (You would, too if it said 1MAR10. I mistook it for March 10th) I assumed honesty and the classic "helpless-girl" voice would be the best route. I was wrong. “Oh, so there’s really nothing that you can do? And, why? All because I didn’t reschedule it before the departure date? Ugh. Okay, thanks anyway.”

I may proscribe to an honest philosophy, but I’m not one to walk away when there’s something of value at stake and nothing to lose. Plus, when my good moral-bound friend Kim instructed, “Lie, baby, Lie, and make mama proud!” I realized what had to be done.

“Hello, Aer Lingus? Customer Relations, please. Sure, I’ll hold.” Start to cue tears.

“Top a’the mornin’ to ya.” (No, they probably said something along the lines of ‘How can I help you,’ but with the Irish accent, that’s all I heard.)

“Hi. I’m hoping you can help me. I had a flight from Ireland to LAX, that I missed. There was a … family emergency; my sister, (cue tears), well, my sister passed away (Always use a relative that doesn’t actually exist). I realize that the ticket was non-refundable but would it be possible to attain a credit? I have to get f light home… please don’t leave me stranded here with (here’s the kicker) the French. (cue sobbing).”


“We’re not supposed to credit non-refundable flights (yeah, whatever), but hold on…”
5 minutes later.

“Okay, I just spoke with a supervisor who agreed to credit you for the flight and you just need to pay the flight-change fee and whatever difference there is to reschedule you’re flight. Oh, and I spent some time in France; I know how you feel.”

I did it. I lied and it worked. The tears came easier than I expected and it was even, dare I say, gratifying? But more so because I got what I wanted. In the end, it wasn’t a complete lie; I may not have a deceased sister, but I was in mourning: of my patience with this job, patience with the "kid," patience with the family, dinners that don’t involve crème, ham, and pasta, the loss of personal space, tasteful home décor, dance classes, turning right on red lights, and well, you get the idea. But, when life gives you lemons, take them and turn them into a $300 airline credit.

I knew I always liked the Irish.

[1] Adultery is quite the institution in France and looked upon as innocently as their Chocolate Nutella spread; They know it’s not healthy but they have it, anyway.

  • My friend Rachel is coming to visit in June!!! We're not sure where all we'll go but backpacking will be involved :)
  • The weather has been warranting sandals and shorts. There may be a purchase of some, this weekend.
  • I went to a weekly quiz night at an English Pub in Vieux Lyon... I had fun.
  • I'm watching French television and I understand what they're saying.
  • Play-dates with the kids of the American family. I adore them :)


  1. Rachel is going to visit you? I'm so jealous! I want to go! Once I get settled at the new job, I'll see what my schedule is like!

    And mamma is so proud! I knew you could do it :)

  2. Haha I shouldn't laugh but I did ;) go Lauren! I suck at lying too, my mouth might say one thing but my face always gives me away. I was worried when I read your post title, glad it was a fictitious sister!

    I'm still crossing my fingers that you'll come over to the UK sometime!

  3. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Good job making Kim proud, lying is an art and can be very handy to have in your back pocket should the situation arise where you might need to use it (i.e. 1)stranded in the middle of West Africa and you need to get out or you might be overrun by herds of sheep 2)stuck at a hotel where they wont rent you a room for three people but if you lie and say you are only half a person they will give you a room). Hitchhiking and lying in one month?? I am so proud of you.

  4. So, I found this post by typing "quitting au pair lie" into Google. Why would I be searching such a phrase on a lovely spring night in Austria? Because I am currently an au pair (and have been one for the past 7(?!) months) and AU PAIRING BLOWS. But! Thanks to a clever use of the Eurail pass from my winter vacation, I can get out tomorrow and sit it out in Spain till June...if I lie. The Google search was me looking for others who've done it (misery loves company and other such cliches apply). I'm sitting next to my suitcase and conjuring up ways for my deception to be detected and cause my world to fall apart about my German-attuned ears on some date in the distant future. I don't think it'll happen.

    Thanks(?) for posting something weirdly pertinent to my life. I haven't read through the rest of your blog, but I think I might. Being articulate and creative might be a warning sign you'll hate your friggin life as an au pair. Yours is the *second* blog by an initially enthusiastic, increasingly disillusioned intelligent girl I've run across. There's probably a depressing number more.

    Unrelated side note: I too say y'all.

    Best of luck with your travels. Collect scarves along the way. :)

  5. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA im totally loving this! good job girl!!! seriosuly! i dont like lying but will do it if i have to!!!!
    i hope you can get out of there.. you may have to change your blog title- to Au Pair Escapee? or however you spell it? i have no clue!