I want people to like and respect me. To that end, I employ a bit of pretense. I profess to endorse habits I don’t practice.
For example, I claim I can’t tolerate driving or riding in messy vehicles. This is a lie. I ride in nothing but messy vehicles.
I tell people their bad grammar doesn’t bother me. It drives me insane. That doesn’t mean I don’t like people who say things like “just between you and I.” I like some of these people quite a bit, and even love a few of them.
I claim I like growing geraniums. I don’t. Growing geraniums is messy and requires work. But I do like having pretty geraniums on my patio each summer.
I say I want to learn to play the piano and to create artful flower arrangements. It’s true that I want to play the piano and arrange flowers. I just don’t want to learn to do either one of them.
I tell people I exercise regularly. In truth, I walk outside or on a track once or twice a week.
I also claim to be five feet, six inches tall when I am five feet, five inches tall, so my weight and height are more proportionate. I say I don’t know how much I weigh because my scale is broken (and I hope to goodness it is).
I tell people I don’t watch much TV. This is true only if you don’t count mini series like Downton Abbey, The Crown, Victoria, Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, Sherlock, Death in Paradise and Dr. Blake Mysteries; or true crime shows like Dateline, 48 Hours and 20/20.
I claim I don’t like candy corn, jelly beans, sour balls or gummy worms. This claim is true. I don’t like these treats unless they are the only sugary items in the house. Then I like them well enough to eat them.
I have managed to attain some goals legitimately, without pretense. I am an involved grandmother; I keep a reasonably clean house, read good books, practice rigid oral hygiene, and change the bed sheets once a week.
But my real pursuit in life is to be liked and respected because I am a woman who drives a clean car and who is tolerant of people who dangle modifiers; a woman who enjoys growing geraniums and likes the challenge of learning new things; a woman who exercises regularly, and whose height and weight are proportionate; one who doesn’t watch much television and who is selective and uses moderation when she occasionally eats junk food.
How am I doing?