Monday, April 21, 2008

Lying Liars and the Lies We Tell

Despite being a bit of a compulsive liar in my misbegotten youth, I now try to live my life as honestly as I am able. Yes, I still tell slight fudges for the sake of social politeness but overall I try to ‘fess up to my occasional bouts of naughtiness and even try to accept the blame when I am actually at fault (as rare as that may be). But honesty can only get you so far – eventually there are things you can’t share with everyone and things you must hide for the greater good.

And I’m not talking about hiding a few packages of Twinkies here. Not that I’ve done that…

We have known about Hubby’s job for quite some time now. Once we knew for certain what was happening with Cairo I immediately put in my resignation at those local associations that were counting on me for next year so that they would have sufficient time to find replacements. Sadly; however, we can’t tell everyone at the same time.

Take Lucy, one of Hubby’s colleagues who will be starting with the Organization shortly. We weren’t allowed to tell him until just a few weeks ago despite Hubby having already submitted his resignation. I felt horrible lying and saying how much we were looking forward to him being the neighborhood. Don’t get me wrong, we are excited– we just won’t be here to enjoy his company.

The bigger lies involve our staff – Tori and Rock. Expat logic states that we don’t tell them until anywhere from a week to a month before we leave in fear that staff will abandon their jobs in hopes of finding a new position that doesn’t have an expiry date. Hubby and I have never held with this theory but we weren’t very well going to tell them in January – seven months notice is a wee bit much even by our standards.

The problem is that despite explicit warnings, people (including myself) keep talking about the move in front of my staff! I have already had to outright lie to Rock when he asked if we were selling car to a rather indiscrete passenger who kept talking about our move despite my broad hints to her to drop the subject. “Don’t be silly, Rock. We need the car after all. She just wants to borrow it during the summer when we go home.” This conversation came after I all but laid our plans in front of him while on the phone to my mother a few weeks ago. (I have a sneaking suspicion that the jig may be up as far as Rock is concerned.)

In case y’all were wondering, I am not a spy for the CIA – I can’t even keep a secret from my driver!!

So far my most bald face lie was last Thursday and I have been feeling dreadfully guilty about it ever since. (Damn my Catholic conscience!) The incredibly sweet young man who works at the printer where I have the Association’s newsletter printed called me to say that my newsletters were ready to be picked up and asked me flat out if I were leaving. I didn’t even pause as I unflinchingly lied and said I was here for the long haul, “You can’t get rid of me that easily!” I quipped.

Admittedly, Rock was within hearing distance and I didn’t want to confess to my departure themed sins in front of him but I immediately felt horrible. Have I become so adept at covering up our move that I can look someone in the cell phone and prevaricate like that?

Of course, as we start selling off our goods and furniture Rock and Tori are bound to suspect something is up despite the white lies we’ve been telling them. Thus after much debate and discussion, Hubby and I have agreed to tell break the news to our staff in about two weeks.

Yes, we are far ahead of the typical expat schedule but I trust Rock and Tori not to leave in search of greener pastures – or at least to give us some notice if they are. I can honestly say that we wouldn’t have lasted this long in Nairobi without their help (driving here = scary) and to that end we are currently looking for potential future employers for them.

Regardless of how they take the news that we are leaving I will be glad that I can finally stop lying about the situation. That will leave far more time for me to find other things to fudge about – like my age, weight, and how you can hardly tell that Hubby is going bald.


Anonymous said...

I would say be honest, your staff knows. You will be surprised at what they are talking about with others. I would come out clean, and ask amongst expats that you know and trust if they know of anyone who is looking for staff. Good staff is hard to find, and if you had a good time with them, many expats/and locals will be relieved to find good staff. That will win you major points within the expat community.

Also, write them a good recommendation letter, and leave some contact information so your references can be checked. Kenya is not North America, and 2 weeks notice is just not enough to find another job.

An aside, if they know, they are worried and telling everyone within earshot that you are leaving, and are looking for a job.

Anonymous said...

Who taught you to tell lies?
Tell the truth young lady!

Nairobi Typ0 said...

Merth: Does this sound familiar? "I'm afraid that Mrs Merth is unavailable at this time, may i take a message?" Can't think WHO could have taught me such skills. :p LOL

Annon: Thanks for visiting and commenting!! :) :) I think you're quite right that Rock and Tori already know. I already have offers for potential employers for after we leave. We have already started writing them both extremely glowing references. I sincerely could not have survived Nairobi without my driver Rock and am determined to find him someone who will appreciate him and pay him his well deserved and exorbitant salary. LOL