Saturday, 22 January 2011
Image above: Fog moves through the narrows
The snow that had remained clung to the shadows or was scattered over ground less popular with cars and foot traffic. I wandered into the ferry terminal and bought a cup of tea from a kiosk that would of worked equally well at the end of a dole queue. Conscious that silence had marked my entrance and feeling a little uneasy I retreated to the gallery to watch for the ferry.
His grandfather spoke first, the story was about the snow plough that keeps Mull’s central glen open; over the last few days the plough had packed the roadside snow so tightly that the route had begun to look like a bob sledge run. His grandfathers friend relayed another story about a local youth known for pushing the speed limit who had ditched his car and abandoned it to the snow.
Sat between the grandfather and company the grandson had been waiting for his turn in the conversation and when a natural lull presented itself he began with his own tale. I knew he was lying from the onset, and so the story of a friend of a friend who had crashed in some place a while ago filled the small waiting room. The grandfather played devils advocate asking those awkward questions that made the lies more obvious to the rest of the room. Answers were given that became even more dubious but none the less he pushed on until he had used up all the available words.
The snow has long gone but I am still haunted by that story. I like that he tried; the story was never about cars and snow or the truth but about fitting in. Recently, when out walking the island I have found myself turning it over in mind, not so much the lies but whether the truth is any better or distinguished only by its commonality.
Image Above right: Running Mooring